Macha Research Trust

Choma, Zambia

Macha Research Trust

Choma, Zambia
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Laban N.M.,Macha Research Trust | Hamapumbu H.,Macha Research Trust | Mharakurwa S.,Macha Research Trust | Thuma P.E.,Macha Research Trust
Malaria Journal | Year: 2015

Background: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) detecting histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) antigen are used to identify individuals with Plasmodium falciparum infection even in low transmission settings seeking to achieve elimination. However, these RDTs lack sensitivity to detect low-density infections, produce false negatives for P. falciparum strains lacking pfhrp2 gene and do not detect species other than P. falciparum. Methods: Results of a PfHRP2-based RDT and Plasmodium nested PCR were compared in a region of declining malaria transmission in southern Zambia using samples from community-based, cross-sectional surveys from 2008 to 2012. Participants were tested with a PfHRP2-based RDT and a finger prick blood sample was spotted onto filter paper for PCR analysis and used to prepare blood smears for microscopy. Species-specific, real-time, quantitative PCR (q-PCR) was performed on samples that tested positive either by microscopy, RDT or nested PCR. Results: Of 3,292 total participants enrolled, 12 (0.4%) tested positive by microscopy and 42 (1.3%) by RDT. Of 3,213 (98%) samples tested by nested PCR, 57 (1.8%) were positive, resulting in 87 participants positive by at least one of the three tests. Of these, 61 tested positive for P. falciparum by q-PCR with copy numbers ≤ 2 × 103 copies/μL, 5 were positive for both P. falciparum and Plasmodium malariae and 2 were positive for P. malariae alone. RDT detected 32 (53%) of P. falciparum positives, failing to detect three of the dual infections with P. malariae. Among 2,975 participants enrolled during a low transmission period between 2009 and 2012, sensitivity of the PfHRP2-based RDT compared to nested PCR was only 17%, with specificity of >99%. The pfhrp gene was detected in 80% of P. falciparum positives; however, comparison of copy number between RDT negative and RDT positive samples suggested that RDT negatives resulted from low parasitaemia and not pfhrp2 gene deletion. Conclusions: Low-density P. falciparum infections not identified by currently used PfHRP2-based RDTs and the inability to detect non-falciparum malaria will hinder progress to further reduce malaria in low transmission settings of Zambia. More sensitive and specific diagnostic tests will likely be necessary to identify parasite reservoirs and achieve malaria elimination. © 2015 Laban et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


Hein S.,Yale University | Reich J.,Yale University | Reich J.,Temple University | Thuma P.E.,Macha Research Trust | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Pediatrics | Year: 2014

Objective To investigate normative developmental body mass index (BMI) trajectories and associations of physical growth indicators - height, weight, head circumference (HC), and BMI - with nonverbal intelligence in an understudied population of children from sub-Saharan Africa.Study design A sample of 3981 students (50.8% male), grades 3-7, with a mean age of 12.75 years was recruited from 34 rural Zambian schools. Children with low scores on vision and hearing screenings were excluded. Height, weight, and HC were measured, and nonverbal intelligence was assessed using the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test, Symbolic Memory subtest and Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition, Triangles subtest.Results Students in higher grades had a higher BMI over and above the effect of age. Girls had a marginally higher BMI, although that for both boys and girls was approximately 1 SD below the international Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization norms. When controlling for the effect of age, nonverbal intelligence showed small but significant positive relationships with HC (r = 0.17) and BMI (r = 0.11). HC and BMI accounted for 1.9% of the variance in nonverbal intelligence, over and above the contribution of grade and sex.Conclusion BMI-for-age growth curves of Zambian children follow observed worldwide developmental trajectories. The positive relationships between BMI and intelligence underscore the importance of providing adequate nutritional and physical growth opportunities for children worldwide and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular. Directions for future studies are discussed with regard to maximizing the cognitive potential of all rural African children. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Das S.,Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute | Muleba M.,Ndola Central Hospital | Stevenson J.C.,Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute | Stevenson J.C.,Macha Research Trust | Norris D.E.,Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2016

Nchelenge District in Luapula Province, northern Zambia, experiences holoendemic malaria despite implementation of vector control programs. The major Anopheles vectors that contribute to Plasmodium falciparum transmission in this area had not previously been well defined. Three collections performed during the 2012 wet and dry seasons and the 2013 wet season revealed Anopheles funestus sensu stricto and Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto as the main vectors, where 80-85% of each collection was composed of An. funestus. Both vectors were found to be highly anthropophilic, and An. funestus has higher sporozoite infection rates (SIRs) and entomological inoculation rates (EIRs) year-round compared with An. gambiae: SIRs of 1.8-3.0% and 0-2.5%, respectively, and EIRs of 3.7-41.5 infectious bites per 6-month period (ib/p/6mo) and 0-5.9 ib/p/6mo, respectively. Spatial and temporal changes in each vector's dynamics and bionomics were also observed. Anopheles funestus was the predominant vector in the villages near Kenani Stream in both wet and dry seasons, whereas An. gambiae was found to be the main vector in areas near Lake Mweru during the wet season. The vector data illustrate the need for broader temporal and spatial sampling in Nchelenge and present unique opportunities to further our understanding of malarial transmission and implications for malarial control in high-risk areas. © Copyright 2016 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


PubMed | Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Yale University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Macha Research Trust
Type: | Journal: Learning and individual differences | Year: 2016

Careful development and adaptation of assessments is imperative for cultural psychological research. However, despite the best efforts, the use of assessments in new contexts can reveal atypical and/or unexpected patterns of performance. We found this to be the case in the testing of assessments to be used for a larger investigation of Specific Reading Disabilities in Zambia. In a sample of 207 children (100 female) from grades 2 to 7, we illustrated that assessment characteristics (i.e., stimulus type, answer choice, and response type) differentially impact patterns of responsiveness. The number of missing values was highest for assessments that (1) used written stimuli, (2) had an open-ended answer choice, and (3) required an action response. Age and socio-economic status explained some of the variance in responsiveness in selected, but not all assessments. Consideration of the impact of stimulus and response types when adapting assessments cross-linguistically and cross-culturally is essential.


PubMed | Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Yale University and Macha Research Trust
Type: | Journal: Learning and individual differences | Year: 2016

This study uses hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to examine the school factors (i.e., related to school organization and teacher and student body) associated with non-verbal intelligence (NI) and nutritional status (i.e., body mass index; BMI) of 4204 3


Jindani A.,St George's, University of London | Harrison T.S.,St George's, University of London | Nunn A.J.,University College London | Phillips P.P.J.,University College London | And 17 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2014

METHODS We randomly assigned patients with newly diagnosed, smear-positive, drug-sensitive tuberculosis to one of three regimens: a control regimen that included 2 months of ethambutol, isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide administered daily followed by 4 months of daily isoniazid and rifampicin; a 4-month regimen in which the isoniazid in the control regimen was replaced by moxifloxacin administered daily for 2 months followed by moxifloxacin and 900 mg of rifapentine administered twice weekly for 2 months; or a 6-month regimen in which isoniazid was replaced by daily moxifloxacin for 2 months followed by one weekly dose of both moxifloxacin and 1200 mg of rifapentine for 4 months. Sputum specimens were examined on microscopy and after culture at regular intervals. The primary end point was a composite treatment failure and relapse, with noninferiority based on a margin of 6 percentage points and 90% confidence intervals.RESULTS We enrolled a total of 827 patients from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Zambia; 28% of patients were coinfected with the human immunodefiency virus. In the per-protocol analysis, the proportion of patients with an unfavorable response was 4.9% in the control group, 3.2% in the 6-month group (adjusted difference from control, -1.8 percentage points; 90% confidence interval [CI], -6.1 to 2.4), and 18.2% in the 4-month group (adjusted difference from control, 13.6 percentage points; 90% CI, 8.1 to 19.1). In the modified intention-to-treat analysis these proportions were 14.4% in the control group, 13.7% in the 6-month group (adjusted difference from control, 0.4 percentage points; 90% CI, -4.7 to 5.6), and 26.9% in the 4-month group (adjusted difference from control, 13.1 percentage points; 90% CI, 6.8 to 19.4).CONCLUSIONS The 6-month regimen that included weekly administration of high-dose rifapentine and moxifloxacin was as effective as the control regimen. The 4-month regimen was not noninferior to the control regimen. (Funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership and the Wellcome Trust; RIFAQUIN Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN44153044.).BACKGROUND Tuberculosis regimens that are shorter and simpler than the current 6-month daily regimen are needed. Copyright © 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.


Das S.,Johns Hopkins University | Henning T.C.,Johns Hopkins University | Simubali L.,Macha Research Trust | Hamapumbu H.,Macha Research Trust | And 6 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2015

Background: Defining the anopheline mosquito vectors and their foraging behaviour in malaria endemic areas is crucial for disease control and surveillance. The standard protocol for molecular identification of host blood meals in mosquitoes is to morphologically identify fed mosquitoes and then perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR), precipitin tests, or ELISA assays. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which the feeding rate and human blood indices (HBIs) of malaria vectors were underestimated when molecular confirmation by PCR was performed on both visually fed and unfed mosquitoes. Methods: In association with the Southern Africa International Centers of Excellence in Malaria Research (ICEMR), mosquito collections were performed at three sites: Choma district in southern Zambia, Nchelenge district in northern Zambia, and Mutasa district in eastern Zimbabwe. All anophelines were classified visually as fed or unfed, and tested for blood meal species using PCR methods. The HBIs of visually fed mosquitoes were compared to the HBIs of overall PCR confirmed fed mosquitoes by Pearson's Chi-Square Test of Independence. Results: The mosquito collections consisted of Anopheles arabiensis from Choma, Anopheles funestus s.s., Anopheles gambiae s.s. and Anopheles leesoni from Nchelenge, and An. funestus s.s. and An. leesoni from Mutasa. The malaria vectors at all three sites had large human blood indices (HBI) suggesting high anthropophily. When only visually fed mosquitoes tested by PCR for blood meal species were compared to testing those classified as both visually fed and unfed mosquitoes, it was found that the proportion blooded was underestimated by up to 18.7%. For most Anopheles species at each site, there was a statistically significant relationship (P<0.05) between the HBIs of visually fed mosquitoes and that of the overall PCR confirmed fed mosquitoes. Conclusion: The impact on HBI of analysing both visually fed and unfed mosquitoes varied from site to site. This discrepancy may be due to partial blood feeding behaviour by mosquitoes, digestion of blood meals, sample condition, and/or expertise of entomology field staff. It is important to perform molecular testing on all mosquitoes to accurately characterize vector feeding behaviour and develop interventions in malaria endemic areas. © 2015 Das et al.; licensee Biomed Central.


Moss W.J.,Johns Hopkins University | Hamapumbu H.,Macha Research Trust | Kobayashi T.,Johns Hopkins University | Shields T.,Johns Hopkins University | And 8 more authors.
Malaria Journal | Year: 2011

Background: The burden of malaria has decreased dramatically within the past several years in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Further malaria control will require targeted control strategies based on evidence of risk. The objective of this study was to identify environmental risk factors for malaria transmission using remote sensing technologies to guide malaria control interventions in a region of declining burden of malaria. Methods. Satellite images were used to construct a sampling frame for the random selection of households enrolled in prospective longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys of malaria parasitaemia in Southern Province, Zambia. A digital elevation model (DEM) was derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission version 3 DEM and used for landscape characterization, including landforms, elevation, aspect, slope, topographic wetness, topographic position index and hydrological models of stream networks. Results: A total of 768 individuals from 128 randomly selected households were enrolled over 21 months, from the end of the rainy season in April 2007 through December 2008. Of the 768 individuals tested, 117 (15.2%) were positive by malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT). Individuals residing within 3.75 km of a third order stream were at increased risk of malaria. Households at elevations above the baseline elevation for the region were at decreasing risk of having RDT-positive residents. Households where new infections occurred were overlaid on a risk map of RDT positive households and incident infections were more likely to be located in high-risk areas derived from prevalence data. Based on the spatial risk map, targeting households in the top 80th percentile of malaria risk would require malaria control interventions directed to only 24% of the households. Conclusions: Remote sensing technologies can be used to target malaria control interventions in a region of declining malaria transmission in southern Zambia, enabling a more efficient use of resources for malaria elimination. © 2011 Moss et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | The Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and Macha Research Trust
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of medical entomology | Year: 2016

Southern Zambia is the focus of strategies to create malaria-free zones. Interventions being rolled out include test and treat strategies and distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets that target vectors that host-seek indoors and late at night. In Macha, Choma District, collections of mosquitoes were made outdoors using barrier screens within homesteads or UV bulb light traps set next to goats, cattle, or chickens during the rainy season of 2015. Anopheline mosquitoes were identified to species using molecular methods and Plasmodium falciparum infectivity was determined by ELISA and real-time qPCR methods. More than 40% of specimens caught were identified as Anopheles squamosus Theobald, 1901 of which six were found harboring malaria parasites. A single sample, morphologically identified as Anopheles coustani Laveran, 1900, was also found to be infectious. All seven specimens were caught outdoors next to goat pens. Parasite-positive specimens as well as a subset of An. squamosus specimens from either the same study or archive collections from the same area underwent sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene. Maximum parsimony trees constructed from the aligned sequences indicated presence of at least two clades of An. squamosus with infectious specimens falling in each clade. The single infectious specimen identified morphologically as An. coustani could not be matched to reference sequences. This is the first report from Zambia of infections in An. squamosus, a species which is described in literature to display exophagic traits. The bionomic characteristics of this species needs to be studied further to fully evaluate the implications for indoor-targeted vector control.


Tan M.,Yale University | Tan M.,Columbia University | Reich J.,Yale University | Hart L.,Yale University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders | Year: 2014

Generally accepted as universal, the construct of adaptive behavior differs in its manifestations across different cultures and settings. The Vineland-II (Sparrow et al. in Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second edn. AGS Publishing, Circle Pines, MN, 2005) was translated into Chitonga and adapted to the setting of rural Southern Province, Zambia. This version was administered to the parents/caregivers of 114 children (grades 3-7, mean age = 12.94, SD = 2.34). The relationships between these children's adaptive behavior, academic achievement and cognitive ability indicators are compared to those usually observed in US samples. Results reflect no association between adaptive behavior and cognitive ability indicators, but a strong relationship between high adaptive behavior and reading-related measures. Six case studies of children with high and low scores on the Vineland-II are presented to illustrate the possible factors affecting these outcomes. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

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