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Gryseels C.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Grietens K.P.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Dierickx S.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Bannister-Tyrrell M.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | And 10 more authors.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Malaria control along the Vietnam-Cambodia border presents a challenge for both countries' malaria elimination targets as the region is forested, inhabited by ethnic minority populations, and potentially characterized by early and outdoor malaria transmission. A mixed methods study assessed the vulnerability to malaria among the Jarai population living on both sides of the border in the provinces of Ratanakiri (Cambodia) and Gia Lai (Vietnam). A qualitative study generated preliminary hypotheses that were quantified in two surveys, one targeting youth (N = 498) and the other household leaders (N = 449). Jarai male youth, especially in Cambodia, had lower uptake of preventive measures (57.4%) and more often stayed overnight in the deep forest (35.8%) compared with the female youth and the adult population. Among male youth, a high-risk subgroup was identified that regularly slept at friends' homes or outdoors, who had fewer bed nets (32.5%) that were torn more often (77.8%). The vulnerability of Jarai youth to malaria could be attributed to the transitional character of youth itself, implying less fixed sleeping arrangements in nonpermanent spaces or non-bed sites. Additional tools such as long-lasting hammock nets could be suitable as they are in line with current practices. Copyright © 2015 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Source

Grietens K.P.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Xuan X.N.,National Institute for Malariology | Ribera J.M.,PASS International | Duc T.N.,National Institute for Malariology | And 7 more authors.

Background: Long-lasting insecticidal hammocks (LLIHs) are being evaluated as an additional malaria prevention tool in settings where standard control strategies have a limited impact. This is the case among the Ra-glai ethnic minority communities of Ninh Thuan, one of the forested and mountainous provinces of Central Vietnam where malaria morbidity persist due to the sylvatic nature of the main malaria vector An. dirus and the dependence of the population on the forest for subsistence - as is the case for many impoverished ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia. Methods: A social science study was carried out ancillary to a community-based cluster randomized trial on the effectiveness of LLIHs to control forest malaria. The social science research strategy consisted of a mixed methods study triangulating qualitative data from focused ethnography and quantitative data collected during a malariometric cross-sectional survey on a random sample of 2,045 study participants. Results: To meet work requirements during the labor intensive malaria transmission and rainy season, Ra-glai slash and burn farmers combine living in government supported villages along the road with a second home at their fields located in the forest. LLIH use was evaluated in both locations. During daytime, LLIH use at village level was reported by 69.3% of all respondents, and in forest fields this was 73.2%. In the evening, 54.1% used the LLIHs in the villages, while at the fields this was 20.7%. At night, LLIH use was minimal, regardless of the location (village 4.4%; forest 6.4%). Discussion: Despite the free distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and LLIHs, around half the local population remains largely unprotected when sleeping in their forest plot huts. In order to tackle forest malaria more effectively, control policies should explicitly target forest fields where ethnic minority farmers are more vulnerable to malaria. © 2012 Peeters Grietens et al. Source

Peeters Grietens K.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Xuan X.N.,National Institute for Malariology | Van Bortel W.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Duc T.N.,National Institute for Malariology | And 6 more authors.
Malaria Journal

Background. Despite Vietnam's success in reducing malaria mortality and morbidity over the last decade, malaria persists in the forested and mountainous areas of the central and southern provinces, where more than 50% of the clinical cases and 90% of severe cases and malaria deaths occur. Methods. Between July 2005 and September 2006, a multi-method study, triangulating a malariometric cross-sectional survey and qualitative data from focused ethnography, was carried out among the Ra-glai ethnic minority in the hilly forested areas of south-central Vietnam. Results. Despite the relatively high malaria burden among the Ra-glai and their general awareness that mosquitoes can transmit an unspecific kind of fever (84.2%), the use of bed nets, distributed free of charge by the national malaria control programme, remains low at the farmers' forest fields where the malaria risk is the highest. However, to meet work requirements during the labour intensive malaria transmission and rainy season, Ra-glai farmers combine living in government supported villages along the road with a second home or shelter at their slash and burn fields located in the forest. Bed net use was 84.6% in the villages but only 52.9% at the forest fields; 20.6% of the respondents slept unprotected in both places. Such low use may be explained by the low perception of the risk for malaria, decreasing the perceived need to sleep protected. Several reasons may account for this: (1) only 15.6% acknowledged the higher risk of contracting malaria in the forest than in the village; (2) perceived mosquito biting times only partially coincided with Anopheles dirus ss and Anopheles minimus A true biting times; (3) the disease locally identified as 'malaria' was hardly perceived as having an impact on forest farmers' daily lives as they were unaware of the specific kind of fevers from which they had suffered even after being diagnosed with malaria at the health centre (20.9%). Conclusions. The progressive confinement of malaria to minority groups and settings in the Greater Mekong sub-region implies that further success in malaria control will be linked to research into these specific socio-cultural contexts. Findings highlight the need for context sensitive malaria control policies; not only to reduce the local malaria burden but also to minimize the risk of malaria spreading to other areas where transmission has virtually ceased. © 2010 Peeters Grietens et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Vercruysse J.,Ghent University | Behnke J.M.,University of Nottingham | Albonico M.,Public Health Laboratory | Ame S.M.,Public Health Laboratory | And 17 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Background: The three major soil-transmitted helminths (STH) Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and Necator americanus/Ancylostoma duodenale are among the most widespread parasites worldwide. Despite the global expansion of preventive anthelmintic treatment, standard operating procedures to monitor anthelmintic drug efficacy are lacking. The objective of this study, therefore, was to define the efficacy of a single 400 milligram dose of albendazole (ALB) against these three STH using a standardized protocol. Methodology/Principal Findings: Seven trials were undertaken among school children in Brazil, Cameroon, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Tanzania and Vietnam. Efficacy was assessed by the Cure Rate (CR) and the Fecal Egg Count Reduction (FECR) using the McMaster egg counting technique to determine fecal egg counts (FEC). Overall, the highest CRs were observed for A. lumbricoides (98.2%) followed by hookworms (87.8%) and T. trichiura (46.6%). There was considerable variation in the CR for the three parasites across trials (country), by age or the pre-intervention FEC (pre-treatment). The latter is probably the most important as it had a considerable effect on the CR of all three STH. Therapeutic efficacies, as reflected by the FECRs, were very high for A. lumbricoides (99.5%) and hookworms (94.8%) but significantly lower for T. trichiura (50.8%), and were affected to different extents among the 3 species by the pre-intervention FEC counts and trial (country), but not by sex or age. Conclusions/Significance: Our findings suggest that a FECR (based on arithmetic means) of &95% for A. lumbricoides and &90% for hookworms should be the expected minimum in all future surveys, and that therapeutic efficacy below this level following a single dose of ALB should be viewed with concern in light of potential drug resistance. A standard threshold for efficacy against T. trichiura has yet to be established, as a single-dose of ALB is unlikely to be satisfactory for this parasite. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01087099. © 2011 Vercruysse et al. Source

Levecke B.,Ghent University | Behnke J.M.,University of Nottingham | Ajjampur S.S.R.,Christian Medical College | Albonico M.,Public Health Laboratory | And 13 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Background: The Kato-Katz thick smear (Kato-Katz) is the diagnostic method recommended for monitoring large-scale treatment programs implemented for the control of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) in public health, yet it is difficult to standardize. A promising alternative is the McMaster egg counting method (McMaster), commonly used in veterinary parasitology, but rarely so for the detection of STH in human stool. Methodology/Principal Findings: The Kato-Katz and McMaster methods were compared for the detection of STH in 1,543 subjects resident in five countries across Africa, Asia and South America. The consistency of the performance of both methods in different trials, the validity of the fixed multiplication factor employed in the Kato-Katz method and the accuracy of these methods for estimating 'true' drug efficacies were assessed. The Kato-Katz method detected significantly more Ascaris lumbricoides infections (88.1% vs. 75.6%, p<0.001), whereas the difference in sensitivity between the two methods was non-significant for hookworm (78.3% vs. 72.4%) and Trichuris trichiura (82.6% vs. 80.3%). The sensitivity of the methods varied significantly across trials and magnitude of fecal egg counts (FEC). Quantitative comparison revealed a significant correlation (Rs >0.32) in FEC between both methods, and indicated no significant difference in FEC, except for A. lumbricoides, where the Kato-Katz resulted in significantly higher FEC (14,197 eggs per gram of stool (EPG) vs. 5,982 EPG). For the Kato-Katz, the fixed multiplication factor resulted in significantly higher FEC than the multiplication factor adjusted for mass of feces examined for A. lumbricoides (16,538 EPG vs. 15,396 EPG) and T. trichiura (1,490 EPG vs. 1,363 EPG), but not for hookworm. The McMaster provided more accurate efficacy results (absolute difference to 'true' drug efficacy: 1.7% vs. 4.5%). Conclusions/Significance: The McMaster is an alternative method for monitoring large-scale treatment programs. It is a robust (accurate multiplication factor) and accurate (reliable efficacy results) method, which can be easily standardized. © 2011 Levecke et al. Source

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