Malaria remains a serious public health problem, particularly in resource scarce areas of the world. The number of malaria cases has dropped remarkably in Ethiopia over the last decade, and efforts to eliminate the disease are underway. Asymptomatic infections may pose significant challenges to the elimination program. The essence of this study was to assess the prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium infection and the associated factors among communities of the selected districts in the Kaffa zone.
April to May and September to October 2021, were the two seasons in which the community-based cross-sectional survey was conducted. Capillary blood from a finger prick was examined by light microscopy (LM) and screened using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). The participants' sociodemographic characteristics and malaria prevention measures were collected using a pretested semistructured questionnaire. Data entry and analyses were carried out using EpiData and SPSS version 25.0. Logistic regression (bivariate and multivariable) analyses were carried out to assess the possible associations between the dependent variable and the associated factors.
566 study participants were involved in the two cross-sectional surveys, including 234 male and 332 female subjects with a mean age of 18.486 (SD ± 15.167). Thirty-eight blood samples (6.7%) were found to be positive for Plasmodium species tested by both LM and RDT. Last night's use of long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) (AOR = 2.448, 95% CI: 1.009 5.938, p=0.048), presence of eave (AOR = 4.144, 95% CI: 1.049–16.363, p=0.043), and house sprayed in the last year (AOR = 5.206, 95% CI: 2.176–12.455, p < 0.001) were among factors that showed significant association with asymptomatic Plasmodium infection.
The asymptomatic Plasmodium infection prevalence recorded in the study area was low. Last night's LLIN usage, the presence of an eave, a house sprayed in the last year, and the presence of stagnant water near the home of the study participants were among the factors associated with an increased risk of catching the disease.