Changing malaria fever test positivity among paediatric admissions to Tororo district hospital, Uganda 2012-2019

Mpimbaza A, Sserwanga A, Rutazaana D, Kapisi J, Walemwa R, Suiyanka L, Kyalo D, Kamya M, Opigo J, Snow RW
Malar J. 2020;19

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BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) and indoor residual house-spraying (IRS) for malaria control in endemic countries. However, long-term impact data of vector control interventions is rarely measured empirically. METHODS: Surveillance data was collected from paediatric admissions at Tororo district hospital for the period January 2012 to December 2019, during which LLIN and IRS campaigns were implemented in the district. Malaria test positivity rate (TPR) among febrile admissions aged 1 month to 14 years was aggregated at baseline and three intervention periods (first LLIN campaign; Bendiocarb IRS; and Actellic IRS + second LLIN campaign) and compared using before-and-after analysis. Interrupted time-series analysis (ITSA) was used to determine the effect of IRS (Bendiocarb + Actellic) with the second LLIN campaign on monthly TPR compared to the combined baseline and first LLIN campaign periods controlling for age, rainfall, type of malaria test performed. The mean and median ages were examined between intervention intervals and as trend since January 2012. RESULTS: Among 28,049 febrile admissions between January 2012 and December 2019, TPR decreased from 60% at baseline (January 2012-October 2013) to 31% during the final period of Actellic IRS and LLIN (June 2016-December 2019). Comparing intervention intervals to the baseline TPR (60.3%), TPR was higher during the first LLIN period (67.3%, difference 7.0%; 95% CI 5.2%, 8.8%, p < 0.001), and lower during the Bendiocarb IRS (43.5%, difference - 16.8%; 95% CI - 18.7%, - 14.9%) and Actellic IRS (31.3%, difference - 29.0%; 95% CI - 30.3%, - 27.6%, p < 0.001) periods. ITSA confirmed a significant decrease in the level and trend of TPR during the IRS (Bendicarb + Actellic) with the second LLIN period compared to the pre-IRS (baseline + first LLIN) period. The age of children with positive test results significantly increased with time from a mean of 24 months at baseline to 39 months during the final IRS and LLIN period. CONCLUSION: IRS can have a dramatic impact on hospital paediatric admissions harbouring malaria infection. The sustained expansion of effective vector control leads to an increase in the age of malaria positive febrile paediatric admissions. However, despite large reductions, malaria test-positive admissions continued to be concentrated in children aged under five years. Despite high coverage of IRS and LLIN, these vector control measures failed to interrupt transmission in Tororo district. Using simple, cost-effective hospital surveillance, it is possible to monitor the public health impacts of IRS in combination with LLIN.