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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 261-262

Epidemiological study of malaria cases in North East region of India

Entomology and Filariasis Division, Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Dibrugarh, Assam, India

Date of Submission03-Jan-2015
Date of Acceptance07-Jul-2015
Date of Web Publication14-Apr-2016

Correspondence Address:
J Sharma
Entomology and Filariasis Division, Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Dibrugarh, Assam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.176843

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How to cite this article:
Sharma J, Dutta P, Khan S A. Epidemiological study of malaria cases in North East region of India. Indian J Med Microbiol 2016;34:261-2

How to cite this URL:
Sharma J, Dutta P, Khan S A. Epidemiological study of malaria cases in North East region of India. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Jul 7];34:261-2. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Malaria continues to be a major health problem due to inadequate control measures and poor utilization of available antimalarial services. [1],[2] The North eastern (NE) states are highly vulnerable for malaria infection. The epidemiology of malaria is quite unique in NE states. Hence, to understand the detailed epidemiological picture of malaria in our region, this study was undertaken over a period of 4 years (2011-2014). A total of 426 numbers of suspected malaria patients were enrolled in the study, of which 298 cases were symptomatic, and the remaining cases were asymptomatic. Blood samples were collected from all the patients. Identification of malaria parasite was done using microscopic slide examination and polymerase chain reaction method.

Among total study participants, 55.4% were Hinduism, 26% were Buddhist, 15.95% were Christian and the remaining subjects were from Muslim communities. The positivity rate for malaria infection was 42.25%. Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) monoinfection was observed in 84.44% of the cases, followed by Plasmodium vivax in 10.56% of the cases and mixed infections (P. falciparum and P. vivax) in 5% of the samples. Among the P. falciparum positive cases, 61.84% were symptomatic and remained 38.16% of the cases were asymptomatic. The incidence of P. falciparum positive cases was higher among the children age groups (mostly <10 years). Both male and female sexes were vulnerable for malarial infection. In our study, a total of 128 asymptomatic cases participated. However, among asymptomatic cases, 45.31% were P. falciparum positive. Asymptomatic P. falciparum positive cases were reported from Karbi Anglong, North Cachar Hills and Chirang district of Assam and Lohit and Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

All the patients included in our study were aware/hear about malaria through different sources such as radio, television, newspaper, magazines, teacher and doctors. Epidemiological observation revealed that 77.70% of the study participants have known about the malaria transmission. However, few individuals informed that drinking water, leeches and blood transfusion (22.30%) were a major route for malaria transmission. Our study has also shown that a significant number of the study subjects (42.25%) were dependence on the forest for different activities (viz., food, firewood, honey, Jhoom cultivation, etc.). According to previous studies, malaria vectors were high in forest fringe areas, so the chance of getting malaria infection is more among forest dependence people. [3] Of the total study participants, 74.18% were taken precautions such as use of mosquito nets (33.86%), fumigants (32.91%), insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITMNs) (26.90%) and mosquito coils (6.33%) against malaria infections. However, the people were unaware about the proper handling and maintenance of ITMNs. Of the users of ITMNs, 76.47% study populations assured that ITMNs are effective up to 3-6 months, whereas the remaining populations believed that they are effective up to only 0-30 days. Instead of ITMNs, a large numbers of study population preferred fumigants/repellents. They believed that those fumigants/repellents resist mosquitoes instead of killing them, but insecticide has no capability to repel mosquitoes.

Approximately, 35.3% study population had a history of tobacco smoking and 56.6% were alcohol, consumers. In previous studies, significance associations between malaria incidence and alcohol consumption has been also found. [4] The presence of large numbers of asymptomatic P. falciparum positive cases, poor knowledge on malaria transmission, forest dependence villagers and lack of awareness on proper precautionary measures are observed as key epidemiological factors responsible for malaria transmission. These data will provide useful information for the elimination of malaria cases in India.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 ~ References Top

Pai M, Zachariah A, Rose W, Satyajit S, Verghese S. Malaria and migrant laborers - A socio epidemiological inquiry. Econ Polit Wkly XXXII No 1997;16:839-42.  Back to cited text no. 1
Acharya I, Acharya JP. Disease occurrence and utilization of preventive measures in self-perceived cases of malaria. J Community Med Health Educ 2013;3:206.  Back to cited text no. 2
Dutta P, Khan AM, Khan SA, Borah J, Sharma CK, Mahanta J. Malaria control in a forest fringe area of Assam, India: A pilot study. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2011;105:327-32.  Back to cited text no. 3
Lefèvre T, Gouagna LC, Dabiré KR, Elguero E, Fontenille D, Renaud F, et al. Beer consumption increases human attractiveness to malaria mosquitoes. PLoS One 2010;5:e9546.  Back to cited text no. 4


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