Back to overview Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Malaria journal
Volume (Issue) 13
Page(s) 1 - 11
Title of proceedings Malaria journal
DOI 10.1186/1475-2875-13-124

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


BACKGROUND The precise nature of the relationship between malaria mortality and levels of transmission is unclear. Due to methodological limitations, earlier efforts to assess the linkage have lead to inconclusive results. The malaria transmission intensity and mortality burden across Africa (MTIMBA) project initiated by the INDEPTH Network collected longitudinally entomological data within a number of sites in sub-Saharan Africa to study this relationship. This work linked the MTIMBA entomology database with the routinely collected vital events within the Rufiji Demographic Surveillance System to analyse the transmission-mortality relation in the region. METHODS Bayesian Bernoulli spatio-temporal Cox proportional hazards models with village clustering, adjusted for age and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), were fitted to assess the relation between mortality and malaria transmission measured by entomology inoculation rate (EIR). EIR was predicted at household locations using transmission models and it was incorporated in the model as a covariate with measure of uncertainty. Effects of covariates estimated by the model are reported as hazard ratios (HR) with 95% Bayesian confidence interval (BCI) and spatial and temporal parameters are presented. RESULTS Separate analysis was carried out for neonates, infants and children 1-4 years of age. No significant relation between all-cause mortality and intensity of malaria transmission was indicated at any age in childhood. However, a strong age effect was shown. Comparing effects of ITN and EIR on mortality at different age categories, a decrease in protective efficacy of ITN was observed (i.e. neonates: HR = 0.65; 95% BCI:0.39-1.05; infants: HR = 0.72; 95% BCI:0.48-1.07; children 1-4 years: HR = 0.88; 95% BCI:0.62-1.23) and reduction on the effect of malaria transmission exposure was detected (i.e. neonates: HR = 1.15; 95% BCI:0.95-1.36; infants: HR = 1.13; 95% BCI:0.98-1.25; children 1-4 years: HR = 1.04; 95% BCI:0.89-1.18). A very strong spatial correlation was also observed. CONCLUSION These results imply that assessing the malaria transmission-mortality relation involves more than the knowledge on the performance of interventions and control measures. This relation depends on the levels of malaria endemicity and transmission intensity, which varies significantly between different settings. Thus, sub-regions analyses are necessary to validate and assess reproducibility of findings.