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Am J Epidemiol. 1997 May 15;145(10):945-56.

Dose- and time-dependent relations between infective Anopheles inoculation and outcomes of Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia among children in western Kenya.

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  • 1Malaria Program, Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Blood-stage level Plasmodium falciparum infection (parasitemia density) is generally elevated prior to, or at the time of, clinical presentation of severe pediatric malaria episodes. Intensity of exposure to infective Anopheles mosquito bites is a suspected determinant of higher density parasitemia. Analyses of entomologic and parasitologic data collected in 1986-1987 were conducted to investigate whether the dose of infective bites predicted the incidence or degree of P. falciparum parasitemia in Kenyan children < 6 years old. At 21 consecutive 30-day intervals, a new cohort (n approximately 50 each) was enrolled, cured of malaria parasites, and monitored over 84 days for recurrent parasitemia. Outcomes included time to parasitemia, time to parasitemia > or = 5,000/microliter, and parasitemia density. Ecologic and individual-level analyses were conducted. The mean infective bite exposure experienced by each cohort was significantly associated with the incidence of parasitemia (age-adjusted r2 = 0.38, p = 0.022) and more strongly associated with the incidence of parasitemia > or = 5,000/microliter (age-adjusted r2 = 0.72, p < 0.001). The infective bite dose, analyzed as a time-dependent covariate, was associated with a 2.8 times higher rate of parasitemia > or = 5,000/microliter among children exposed to > or = 1 infective bite per day as compared with the referent (rate ratio (RR) = 2.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.24-3.56). Cumulative infective bite exposure, exposure duration, and age were significant predictors of recurrent parasitemia density in multiple linear regression analyses. The results support the contention that reductions in P. falciparum transmission intensity, in the absence of complete elimination, will reduce higher level parasitemia among African children.

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