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      Malaria in Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela: current challenges in malaria control and elimination

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          Abstract

          In spite of significant progress towards malaria control and elimination achieved in South America in the 2000s, this mosquito-transmitted tropical disease remains an important public health concern in the region. Most malaria cases in South America come from Amazon rain forest areas in northern countries, where more than half of malaria is caused by Plasmodium vivax, while Plasmodium falciparum malaria incidence has decreased in recent years. This review discusses current malaria data, policies and challenges in four South American Amazon countries: Brazil, Colombia, Peru and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Challenges to continuing efforts to further decrease malaria incidence in this region include: a significant increase in malaria cases in recent years in Venezuela, evidence of submicroscopic and asymptomatic infections, peri-urban malaria, gold mining-related malaria, malaria in pregnancy, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and primaquine use, and possible under-detection of Plasmodium malariae. Some of these challenges underscore the need to implement appropriate tools and procedures in specific regions, such as a field-compatible molecular malaria test, a P. malariae-specific test, malaria diagnosis and appropriate treatment as part of regular antenatal care visits, G6PD test before primaquine administration for P. vivax cases (with weekly primaquine regimen for G6PD deficient individuals), single low dose of primaquine for P. falciparum malaria in Colombia, and national and regional efforts to contain malaria spread in Venezuela urgently needed especially in mining areas. Joint efforts and commitment towards malaria control and elimination should be strategized based on examples of successful regional malaria fighting initiatives, such as PAMAFRO and RAVREDA/AMI.

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          Malaria in Brazil: an overview

          Malaria is still a major public health problem in Brazil, with approximately 306 000 registered cases in 2009, but it is estimated that in the early 1940s, around six million cases of malaria occurred each year. As a result of the fight against the disease, the number of malaria cases decreased over the years and the smallest numbers of cases to-date were recorded in the 1960s. From the mid-1960s onwards, Brazil underwent a rapid and disorganized settlement process in the Amazon and this migratory movement led to a progressive increase in the number of reported cases. Although the main mosquito vector (Anopheles darlingi) is present in about 80% of the country, currently the incidence of malaria in Brazil is almost exclusively (99,8% of the cases) restricted to the region of the Amazon Basin, where a number of combined factors favors disease transmission and impair the use of standard control procedures. Plasmodium vivax accounts for 83,7% of registered cases, while Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for 16,3% and Plasmodium malariae is seldom observed. Although vivax malaria is thought to cause little mortality, compared to falciparum malaria, it accounts for much of the morbidity and for huge burdens on the prosperity of endemic communities. However, in the last few years a pattern of unusual clinical complications with fatal cases associated with P. vivax have been reported in Brazil and this is a matter of concern for Brazilian malariologists. In addition, the emergence of P. vivax strains resistant to chloroquine in some reports needs to be further investigated. In contrast, asymptomatic infection by P. falciparum and P. vivax has been detected in epidemiological studies in the states of Rondonia and Amazonas, indicating probably a pattern of clinical immunity in both autochthonous and migrant populations. Seropidemiological studies investigating the type of immune responses elicited in naturally-exposed populations to several malaria vaccine candidates in Brazilian populations have also been providing important information on whether immune responses specific to these antigens are generated in natural infections and their immunogenic potential as vaccine candidates. The present difficulties in reducing economic and social risk factors that determine the incidence of malaria in the Amazon Region render impracticable its elimination in the region. As a result, a malaria-integrated control effort - as a joint action on the part of the government and the population - directed towards the elimination or reduction of the risks of death or illness, is the direction adopted by the Brazilian government in the fight against the disease.
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            Global Epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax

            Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread human malaria, putting 2.5 billion people at risk of infection. Its unique biological and epidemiological characteristics pose challenges to control strategies that have been principally targeted against Plasmodium falciparum. Unlike P. falciparum, P. vivax infections have typically low blood-stage parasitemia with gametocytes emerging before illness manifests, and dormant liver stages causing relapses. These traits affect both its geographic distribution and transmission patterns. Asymptomatic infections, high-risk groups, and resulting case burdens are described in this review. Despite relatively low prevalence measurements and parasitemia levels, along with high proportions of asymptomatic cases, this parasite is not benign. Plasmodium vivax can be associated with severe and even fatal illness. Spreading resistance to chloroquine against the acute attack, and the operational inadequacy of primaquine against the multiple attacks of relapse, exacerbates the risk of poor outcomes among the tens of millions suffering from infection each year. Without strategies accounting for these P. vivax-specific characteristics, progress toward elimination of endemic malaria transmission will be substantially impeded.
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              The dominant Anopheles vectors of human malaria in the Americas: occurrence data, distribution maps and bionomic précis

              Background An increasing knowledge of the global risk of malaria shows that the nations of the Americas have the lowest levels of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax endemicity worldwide, sustained, in part, by substantive integrated vector control. To help maintain and better target these efforts, knowledge of the contemporary distribution of each of the dominant vector species (DVS) of human malaria is needed, alongside a comprehensive understanding of the ecology and behaviour of each species. Results A database of contemporary occurrence data for 41 of the DVS of human malaria was compiled from intensive searches of the formal and informal literature. The results for the nine DVS of the Americas are described in detail here. Nearly 6000 occurrence records were gathered from 25 countries in the region and were complemented by a synthesis of published expert opinion range maps, refined further by a technical advisory group of medical entomologists. A suite of environmental and climate variables of suspected relevance to anopheline ecology were also compiled from open access sources. These three sets of data were then combined to produce predictive species range maps using the Boosted Regression Tree method. The predicted geographic extent for each of the following species (or species complex*) are provided: Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) albimanus Wiedemann, 1820, An. (Nys.) albitarsis*, An. (Nys.) aquasalis Curry, 1932, An. (Nys.) darlingi Root, 1926, An. (Anopheles) freeborni Aitken, 1939, An. (Nys.) marajoara Galvão & Damasceno, 1942, An. (Nys.) nuneztovari*, An. (Ano.) pseudopunctipennis* and An. (Ano.) quadrimaculatus Say, 1824. A bionomics review summarising ecology and behaviour relevant to the control of each of these species was also compiled. Conclusions The distribution maps and bionomics review should both be considered as a starting point in an ongoing process of (i) describing the distributions of these DVS (since the opportunistic sample of occurrence data assembled can be substantially improved) and (ii) documenting their contemporary bionomics (since intervention and control pressures can act to modify behavioural traits). This is the first in a series of three articles describing the distribution of the 41 global DVS worldwide. The remaining two publications will describe those vectors found in (i) Africa, Europe and the Middle East and (ii) in Asia. All geographic distribution maps are being made available in the public domain according to the open access principles of the Malaria Atlas Project.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                rechtj@gmail.com
                amsiqueira@gmail.com
                wueltonmm@gmail.com
                sonia.herrera@inmuno.org
                sherrera@inmuno.org
                smarcuslacerda.br@gmail.com
                Journal
                Malar J
                Malar. J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                1475-2875
                4 July 2017
                4 July 2017
                2017
                : 16
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Independent consultant, Recife, Brazil
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0723 0931, GRID grid.418068.3, , Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), ; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0486 0972, GRID grid.418153.a, Diretoria de Ensino e Pesquisa, , Fundação de Medicina Tropical Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado, ; Manaus, Amazonas Brazil
                [4 ]Centro de Investigación Científica Caucaseco, Cali, Colombia
                [5 ]Fiocruz/Fundação de Medicina Tropical Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado/Institute Elimina, Manaus, Brazil
                Article
                1925
                10.1186/s12936-017-1925-6
                5496604
                28676055
                e0527602-3012-44b0-8b1e-33dd81a95395
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Review
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                © The Author(s) 2017

                Infectious disease & Microbiology

                plasmodium, control, elimination, eradication, amazon, south america

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