Environmental and entomological risk factors for the development of clinical malaria among children on the Kenyan coast
Several malariometric studies have examined the impact on human-vector contact of house construction, demographics, bed net and insect repellent use. However, few studies have documented the significance of these proximate determinants on the risks of clinical disease. We undertook a matched case-control study of the risks of both mild clinical malaria and severe life-threatening malaria according to a range of putative factors which would influence the frequency of child-vector encounters in Kilifi district on the Kenyan coast. Among 394 severe disease cases, 380 age-matched mild disease cases, and their respective location and age-matched community controls, we were unable to demonstrate any statistically significant effect upon disease outcome of house construction, presence of domestic animals, or bed net use. Higher population density within a 250 m radius of the homes conferred significant protection from the risks of developing severe malaria compared to community controls. The risks of developing severe malaria compared to the community controls and the transition from mild to severe disease were statistically significantly lower in those who reported use of mosquito coils, local repellents or aerosol insecticides. We concluded that it is likely that the impact of household features on disease outcome is dependent upon both the density of infecting mosquitoes and acquired immunity within a given locality.