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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42861. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042861. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

Estimating Plasmodium falciparum transmission rates in low-endemic settings using a combination of community prevalence and health facility data.

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Department of Global Health Systems and Development, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.


As some malaria control programs shift focus from disease control to transmission reduction, there is a need for transmission data to monitor progress. At lower levels of transmission, it becomes increasingly more difficult to measure precisely, for example through entomological studies. Many programs conduct regular cross sectional parasite prevalence surveys, and have access to malaria treatment data routinely collected by ministries of health, often in health management information systems. However, by themselves, these data are poor measures of transmission. In this paper, we propose an approach for combining annual parasite incidence and treatment data with cross-sectional parasite prevalence and treatment seeking survey data to estimate the incidence of new infections in the human population, also known as the force of infection. The approach is based on extension of a reversible catalytic model. The accuracy of the estimates from this model appears to be highly dependent on levels of detectability and treatment in the community, indicating the importance of information on private sector treatment seeking and access to effective and appropriate treatment.

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