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Diagnostik und Therapie der Malaria
Diagnostik und Therapie der Malaria

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Published by: Prof Dr Dr Ernst Hanisch on Dec 31, 2007
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Vol 6 December 2006
Malaria in adolescence: burden of disease, consequences, andopportunities for intervention
David G Lalloo, Peju Olukoya, Piero Olliaro
The problem of malaria in adolescence has largely been overshadowed by the huge burden of disease in youngchildren. A substantial number of adolescents are at risk from malaria infection, but the burden of disease andconsequences of infection in this age-group have rarely been studied. Our understanding of specific risk factors andbeneficial interventions for adolescents is also limited. Data show that, from an adolescent viewpoint, malaria is acommon cause of clinical illness and a preventable cause of death, even in areas of stable malaria transmission. Younger adolescents might be at a higher risk than older adolescents, because of immunological and hormonalfactors. There are limited data about the adverse consequences of malaria in non-pregnant adolescents. However, inpregnant adolescents, the consequences of malaria are of great concern and simple interventions might lead to asubstantial benefit. Malaria infection in adolescents is an under-recognised problem, and the prevention, diagnosis,and treatment of malaria should have a high priority within adolescent health programmes.
Malaria is one of the most important infections in thetropics with an estimated 1 to 2·7 million deaths annually.
 The age-groups at highest risk are primarily determinedby the intensity of malarial transmission. Wheretransmission is intense, clinical disease is most commonin young children: immunity develops with increasingage and adults are far less affected. In areas of lowertransmission, clinical disease occurs throughout life.
 Although much has been learnt about the epidemiologyand clinical effects of malaria in children, malaria inadolescence has been relatively neglected. Approximately914 million adolescents (aged 10–19 years) live in low-income countries, and many of them will be exposed tomalaria, but this group has rarely been targeted formalaria control.
This review was undertaken to collateevidence and observations from different sources tobetter understand the burden and consequences of malaria in adolescents, and to identify relevantinterventions or opportunities for improved control.
To obtain data for this review, we searched the 26 Cochranesystematic reviews on malaria for data relevant toadolescents (up to December, 2005). The Cochraneclinical trial register was searched for trials by use of thekeywords “malaria” and “adolescence” in any field.Abstracts of these trials were examined to identifyinterventions relevant to adolescents. We also searchedthe English and French literature by use of PubMed(1966 to December, 2005) for articles containing thewords “malaria”, “adolescence or adolescents” (includingMeSH age-group subheadings) and the following MeSHheadings in any field: “epidemiology”, “clinical pattern”,“signs and symptoms”, “severe malaria”, “drug therapy”,“pregnancy”, “prophylaxis”, “knowledge”, “health careseeking behaviour”, “health promotion”, and “delivery of health care”. Searches were also done using “malaria andpractice guidelines”, “malaria and schoolchildren”, and“severe malaria and pathogenesis”. Abstracts of papersfrom the search were read to identify those likely tocontain information relevant to the aims of the review,and all identified papers were examined for data thatshould be included in the review. Publications were alsoidentified as a result of citation in papers unearthed bythe search. In addition to these searches, we estimatedmalarial mortality and morbidity in adolescents based oncountry reporting from the WHO Global Programme onEvidence database.
Burden of disease in adolescents
Stable transmission areas
Clinical illness
Few studies have examined directly rates of clinical illnessin adolescents. Observations in younger children indicatethat, even within stable transmission areas, the intensityof transmission has a strong influence on the peak age of clinical illness (panel 1).
This is shown by a comparisonof two villages in Senegal with different transmissionrates (200
20 infective bites per year): clinical diseasewas rare in adolescence in the high-transmission area,but did occur in the area of stable but lower transmissionintensity (figure 1).
Published estimates of the incidenceof clinical disease in adolescents in stable areas of transmission vary from 0·13 to 1·18 attacks per year(table 1). Other studies show a wide variation in the
Lancet Infect Dis
2006; 6:780–93Liverpool School of TropicalMedicine, Liverpool, UK
 (D G Lalloo MD)
; Department of Child and Adolescent Healthand Development
(P Olukoya MD)
, and UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHOSpecial Programme onResearch and Training inTropical Diseases
(P Olliaro MD)
,World Health Organization,Geneva, Switzerland; andCentre for Tropical Medicineand Vaccinology, University of Oxford, Churchill Hospital,Headington, Oxford, UK
(P Olliaro MD)Correspondence to:Dr David G Lalloo, LiverpoolSchool of Tropical Medicine,Pembroke Place, Liverpool,L3 5QA, UK
Panel 1:
Malaria epidemiology
Malaria can affect people at all ages.Malaria can be epidemic (unstable transmission) orendemic (stable transmission).Susceptibility to, severity of, and age distribution of malarial disease depend on acquisition of immunity andare strongly related to the intensity of transmission.As the intensity of transmission increases, people areexposed earlier in life and more frequently, partial immunitydevelops earlier, and risk of severe malaria declines.
Vol 6 December 2006
proportion of fevers attributable to malaria, from none inan intense transmission area of Tanzania, to 43·6% in theRepublic of the Congo.
 Despite limited direct data, age-specific burdens of disease in Africa have been estimated. Brooker andcolleagues
calculated the clinical malaria rate in Africanschoolchildren to be 0·252 attacks per year in10–20-year-olds compared with 0·692 attacks per year in5–9-year-olds. Another study used long-term rainfall andtemperature data and a geographic information systempopulation database to define the risk by age-group acrossareas of stable endemicity. The number of malaria attacks(estimated using these data and all available studies foradults and children) were 81·3 million in 0–4-year-olds,16·0 million in 5–9-year-olds, 13·4 million in10–14-year-olds, and 96·8 million in those older than15 years.
Severe disease
Incidence of severe disease declines at an earlier age thanclinical illness.
Three studies estimate incidence ratesfor severe malaria, albeit with very wide confidenceintervals (table 2).
Severe malaria is much less of aproblem in adolescents than in younger children. InNigeria, only 2·8% of cases of severe malaria in501 paediatric admissions occurred in 11–14-year-oldsand there were no deaths in those aged over 5 years;
inTanzania, only two of 72 deaths occurred over the age of 5 years.
 However, unpublished hospital admission data fromMalawi and The Gambia show that malaria is importantfor adolescents: malaria was responsible for 13·7%(95% CI 11·1–16·6) of admissions in Malawian 10–16-year-olds, and in The Gambia malaria was the final diagnosisin 44·3% and 28·4% of admissions in 10–14-year-oldsand 15–19-year-olds, respectively (40 of 69 cases in15–19-year-olds were in pregnant young women;Nelson EAS, Chinese University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong, and Weber M, Department of Child andAdolescent Health and Development, WHO, personalcommunication).
Table 3 summarises estimated population mortality ratesin areas of stable transmission. Other studies address theimportance of malaria relative to other diseases as a causeof death. In Guyana, where malaria was hyperendemic
    A   n   n   u   a    l    i   n   c    i    d   e   n   c   e   o    f   c    l    i   n    i   n   c   a    l   m   a    l   a   r    i   a   a    t    t   a   c    k   s
 <  1 12 45678 9  1  0  1  1  1   2  1   3   1  4  1   5  –  1  9   2  0  –   2  4   2   5  –   2  9   3   0  –   3   9  4  0  –  4  9   5  0  –   5  9  ≥  6  0
Ndiop (EIR=20)Dielmo (EIR=200)
Age (years)
Figure 1
: Annual incidence of malaria attacks in residents of two Senegalese villages with different
P falciparum
EIR=entomological inoculation rate (infective bites per year). Adapted from Trape and Rogier,
with permissionfrom Elsevier.
LocationAdolescents InfantsYoung childrenOlder childrenAdult
NumberIncidence(episodes peryear) (95% CI)†Age(years)Incidence(episodesper year)Age(years)Incidence(episodesper year)Age(years)Incidence(episodesper year)Age(years)Incidence(episodesper year)Kenya
2620·22 (0·150·31)10142·60·51·00·58 340·24 59..Republic of the Congo
Daily survey480·76 (0·014·04)1113....3·0 561·8 910..Weekly survey531·18 (0·731·83)1113....5·2 562·0 910..Senegal
140·21 (0·050·51)11146·8 125·6 360·87 710..Senegal
410·13 (0·080·19)1019....2·1 450·77 690·13Ghana
(high season)2480·61 (0·460·77)1220............Papua New Guinea
3550·2810190·78 011·96 240·78 590·16Burma*
470·19 (0·090·33)1014....0·64 240·47 590·09
*A rare area of apparently stable endemicity in southeast Asia. †95% CIs calculated from original data where available.
Table 1:
Incidence of clinical malaria in adolescents in stable areas by country
Vol 6 December 2006
before eradication between 1945 and 1951, malariaaccounted for 4·2% of deaths in 11–14-year-olds comparedwith 13·0% of deaths in 6–10-year-olds, and 5·8% in thoseover 15 years.
Verbal necropsies in Papua New Guineaestimated that malaria accounted for 11·1% of all deathsin the 10–19-year age-group; 9·1% of death certificatesimplicated malaria in the 11–15-year age-group inNigeria.
Unpublished hospital studies found malaria tobe the cause in 6·3% (95% CI 0·7–20·8) of the adolescentdeaths in Malawi, equal to respiratory or diarrhoeal illness,and 11·4 % (95% CI 3·2–26%) of deaths in The Gambia(Nelson EAS and Weber M, personal communication). InDR Congo, the in-hospital case fatality rate in malariaadmissions was 31·8% in those aged under 1 year,20·4% in 1–4-year-olds, 14·8% in 5–9-year-olds, and 13·5%(95% CI 8·2–20·5) in 10–13-year-olds.
 Snow and colleagues
developed a model to derivemortality estimates in stable areas of Africa for oldergroups by use of the 0–4 year age-group data as baseline.The estimated median mortality rate in the 10–14 yearage group was 0·80 per 1000 compared with 2·17 per1000 in 5–9-year-olds. Brooker and co-workers
estimatedmortality rates of 0·41 per 1000 (IQR 0·27–1·62) inschoolchildren aged 10–20 years with malaria accountingfor 9·1% of adolescent deaths overall.
Unstable transmission areas
Clinical illness
Most studies in regions of unstable transmission showclinical malaria at all ages (table 4). The wide variation inincidence between studies may be partly explained bylarge variations in transmission intensity over areas of unstable endemicity. The incidence in adolescents isoften similar to that in younger age-groups and issometimes higher.
By contrast with high-trans-mission areas, where
Plasmodium falciparum 
LocationIncidence per 1000 per year*
<1 year04 years14 years59 years1013 years1014 yearsAdmission for malaria
Kinsasha, Zaire (DR Congo)4·3..2·851·240·35..Severe malaria
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo..1·15..0·25..0·05Cerebral malaria
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo..2·4..0·61..0·13
*Small numbers led to extremely wide confidence intervals in adolescents.
Table 2:
Incidence of severe disease in adolescents in areas of stable transmissionLocationAdolescentsInfants(aged <1 year)Young childrenOlder children
Mortality (per1000 per year)Age (years)Mortality (per1000 per year)Mortality (per1000 per year)Age (years)Mortality (per1000 per year)Age (years)Zaire
0·110134·0 1·6 140·4 59Republic of the Congo
01014..0·43 040·0859Republic of the Congo (cerebral malaria)
0·011014..0·58 040·05 59Nigeria
0·3111512·56·6141·0510Papua New Guinea
There were inadequate data for confidence intervals.
Table 3:
Estimates of malarial mortality in adolescents in stable transmission areas by countryLocationAdolescentsInfants andyoung childrenOlder childrenAdultsPlasmodium proportions (95% CI)in adolescents
NumberOverall incidence(episodes per year)(95% CI)*Age (years)Incidence(episodesper year)Age(years)Incidence(episodesper year)Age(years)Incidence(episodesper year)Age(years)
P falcipariumP viva
Western Thailand
861·0 (0·951·05)12150·76 481·03 9110·75>150·49 (0·370·62)0·51 (0·380·63)Philippines
45850·026 (0·0220·031)11190·026 040·023 5100·015 >190·020 (0·0160·024)0·006 (0·0040·009)Brazil
8750·25 (0·220·28)11150·211010....0·298>15....Brazil
401·08 (1·041·12)11150·31010....1·27>150·61 (0·400·80)0·47 (0·270·68)Brazil
390·352 (0·220·52)11150·374010....0·22>15....Sri Lanka
720·99 (0·961·02)5130·62 05....0·71 >15....
*95% CIs calculated from original data.
Table 4:
Incidence of mild malaria attacks in areas of unstable transmission by country

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