Declining incidence of imported malaria in the Netherlands, 2000-2007.
SourceMalaria Journal, 9, (2010), pp. 300
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectN4i 3: Poverty-related infectious diseases
BACKGROUND: To describe the epidemiology and trends of imported malaria in the Netherlands from 2000 through 2007. METHODS: Based on national surveillance data regarding all reported infections of imported malaria, diagnosed 2000 through 2007, incidence and trends of imported malaria in the Netherlands were estimated. Travellers statistics were used to estimate incidence, and data on malaria chemoprophylaxis prescriptions were used to estimate the number of unprotected travellers. RESULTS: Importation of malaria to the Netherlands is declining even as more travellers visit malaria-endemic countries. On average, 82% were acquired in sub-Saharan Africa, and 75% were caused by Plasmodium falciparum. The overall incidence in imported falciparum malaria fell from 21.5 to 6.6/10,000 of unprotected travellers. The percentage of unprotected travellers rose from 47% to 52% of all travellers. The incidence of imported falciparum infections is greatest from Middle and West Africa, and decreased from 121.3 to 36.5/10,000 travellers. The import of malaria from this region by immigrants visiting friends and relatives (VFR) decreased from 138 infections in 2000, to 69 infections in 2007. CONCLUSION: The annual number of imported malaria shows a continuing declining trend, even with an increasing number of travellers visiting malaria endemic countries. VFR import less malaria than previously, and contribute largely to the declining incidence seen. The decline is not readily explained by increased use of chemoprophylaxis and may reflect a reduced risk of infection due to decreasing local malaria transmission as observed in some malaria endemic areas. Nevertheless, the increasing number of unprotected travellers remains worrisome.
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