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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 141  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 546-555

Neglected Plasmodium vivax malaria in northeastern States of India

1 Centre for Rural Development & Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India
2 National Institute of Malaria Research (Field Station) (ICMR), Guwahati, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Vas Dev
National Institute of Malaria Research (Field Station) (ICMR), Guwahati 781 022, Assam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.159511

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Background & objectives: The northeastern States of India are co-endemic for Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria. The transmission intensity is low-to-moderate resulting in intermediate to stable malaria. Malaria control prioritized P. falciparum being the predominant and life threatening infection (>70%). P. vivax malaria remained somewhat neglected. The present study provides a status report of P. vivax malaria in the northeastern States of India. Methods: Data on spatial distribution of P. vivax from seven northeastern States (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura) were analysed retrospectively from 2008-2013. In addition, cross-sectional malarial surveys were conducted during 1991-2012 in malaria endemic pockets across the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura to ascertain the prevalence of P. vivax in different age groups. Results: Vivax malaria was encountered in all northeastern States but there existed a clear division of two malaria ecotypes supporting ≤30 and >30 per cent of total malaria cases. High proportions of P. vivax cases (60-80%) were seen in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland in the north with alpine environment, 42-67 per cent in Manipur, whereas in Assam it varied from 23-31 per cent with subtropical and tropical climate. Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram had the lowest proportion of P. vivax cases. Malaria cases were recorded in all age groups but a higher proportion of P. vivax consistently occurred among <5 yr age group compared to P. falciparum (P<0.05). P. vivax cases were recorded throughout the year with peak coinciding with rainy season although transmission intensity and duration varied. Interpretation & conclusions: In northeast India, P. vivax is a neglected infection. Estimating the relapsing pattern and transmission dynamics of P. vivax in various ecological settings is an important pre-requisite for planning malaria elimination in the northeastern States.

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