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Background: In regions of declining malaria transmission, new strategies for control are needed to reduce transmission and achieve elimination. Artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) is active against immature gametocytes and can reduce the risk of transmission. We sought to determine whether household screening and treatment of infected individuals provides protection against infection for household members. Methodology/Principal Findings: The study was conducted in two areas in Southern Province, Zambia in 2007 and 2008/2009. To determine the impact of proactive case detection, households were randomly selected either to join a longitudinal cohort, in which participants were repeatedly screened throughout the year and those infected treated with artemether-lumefantrine, or a cross-sectional survey, in which participants were visited only once. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted throughout the year. The prevalence of RDT positivity was compared between the longitudinal and cross-sectional households at baseline and during follow-up using multilevel logistic regression. In the 2007 study area, 174 and 156 participants enrolled in the cross-sectional and longitudinal groups, respectively. In the 2008/2009 study area, 917 and 234 participants enrolled in the cross-sectional and longitudinal groups, respectively. In both study areas, participants and households in the longitudinal and cross-sectional groups were similar on demographic characteristics and prevalence of RDT positivity at baseline (2007: OR = 0.97; 95% CI:0.46, 2.03 {pipe} 2008/2009: OR = 1.28; 95% CI:0.44, 3.79). After baseline, the prevalence of RDT positivity was significantly lower in longitudinal compared to cross-sectional households in both study areas (2007: OR = 0.44; 95% CI:0.20, 0.96 {pipe} 2008/2009: OR = 0.16; 95% CI:0.05, 0.55). Conclusions/Significance: Proactive case detection, consisting of screening household members with an RDT and treating those positive with ACT, can reduce transmission and provide indirect protection to household members. A targeted test and treat strategy could contribute to the elimination of malaria in regions of low transmission.


Sutcliffe, C., et al. (2012). Reduced risk of malaria parasitemia following household screening and treatment: A cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort study. PLoS ONE 7(2) Article e31396.

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