Eliminating malaria has longlasting benefits for many countries

February 21, 2013, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Many nations battling malaria face an economic dilemma: spend money indefinitely to control malaria transmission or commit additional resources to eliminate transmission completely.

A review of elimination conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and other institutions suggests stopping malaria transmission completely has longlasting benefits for many countries and that once eliminated, the disease is unlikely to reemerge over time. Furthermore, total eradication of malaria may not be necessary before countries that eliminate the disease within their own borders can rely on their to control cases. The study is published in the February 22 edition of Science.

"Our research identified a number of changes that could explain the stability of malaria elimination. The key for us now is to determine whether elimination caused some of these changes, and to identify other countries where elimination could become a stable endpoint," said the study's senior author, David Smith, PhD, MS, professor in the Department of and the Malaria Research Institute at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For the analysis, the researchers examined outcomes of the Global Malaria Eradication Programme, with activities starting in the late 1940s. When the program was defunded in 1969, the majority of countries that had achieved elimination stayed that way, while most countries that did not eliminate the disease continue to battle malaria today. The study analyzed data from countries that eliminated malaria, describing nearly a quarter of a million imported malaria cases−usually acquired during travel–compared with only about five thousand malaria cases transmitted in-country. Malaria transmission in elimination countries is rare today.

The researchers developed six as to why malaria elimination remains stable over time. Among the reasons, researchers question whether economic development spurs a reduction in , independent of disease control measures, or if is a byproduct of reduced illness from malaria. Other hypotheses consider benefits of mosquito control measures, effectiveness of outbreak management, and population travel patterns as reasons for keeping importation of new malaria infections low.

"If malaria elimination helps cause its own stability, then eradication may benefit from regional coordination, but it does not require a globally coordinated campaign. can proceed like a ratchet, country-by-country and region-by-region, culminating in global eradication," explained Smith.

Explore further: 'Test and Treat' model offers new strategy for eliminating malaria

More information: "The Stability of Malaria Elimination" was written by C. Chiyaka, A.J. Tatem, J.M. Cohen, P.W. Gething, G. Johnston, R. Gosling, R. Laxminarayan, S.I. Hay, and D.L. Smith.

Related Stories

'Test and Treat' model offers new strategy for eliminating malaria

February 6, 2012
As researchers work to eliminate malaria worldwide, new strategies are needed to find and treat individuals who have malaria, but show no signs of the disease. The prevalence of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic malaria ...

Australia gives $104 million to fighting malaria

November 2, 2012
(AP)—Australia will spend more than 100 million Australian dollars ($104 million) over the next four years to help reduce deaths from malaria in the Asia-Pacific region.

Malaria on way out in third of nations hit: study

October 17, 2011
Nearly a third of all nations in which malaria is endemic are working to eliminate the disease within a decade, according to a new report released Monday in the United States.

Recommended for you

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Zika virus damages placenta, which may explain malformed babies

January 18, 2018
Though the Zika virus is widely known for a recent outbreak that caused children to be born with microencephaly, or having a small head, and other malformations, scientists have struggled to explain how the virus affects ...

Certain flu virus mutations may compensate for fitness costs of other mutations

January 18, 2018
Seasonal flu viruses continually undergo mutations that help them evade the human immune system, but some of these mutations can reduce a virus's potency. According to new research published in PLOS Pathogens, certain mutations ...

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.