Volume 59, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


To study incidence of clinical Plasmodium falciparum malaria in relation to exposure to parasites, attendance of children less than eighteen months old at a village dispensary in a highly endemic area of Tanzania was recorded. Entomologic inoculation rates (EIRs), estimated as a function of time period and place of residence, exceeded one sporozoite positive bite per adult per night in some village neighborhoods during the wet season. Incidence of clinical P. falciparum malaria, defined either as fever with parasitemia or as fever with hyperparasitemia, increased with the EIR over the whole range of exposures. Each 10-fold increase in the EIR corresponded to a 1.6-fold increase in incidence of fever plus parasitemia (95% confidence interval = 1.4-2.0). Therefore reduction of human-vector contacts will probably reduce morbidity incidence even at very high exposures. Incidence showed little relationship to estimated cumulative numbers of inoculations since birth, but decreased steeply with estimated cumulative time infected with trophozoites. This suggests that clinical immunity depends mainly on the extent of exposure to blood-stage antigens, not on the diversity of inocula seen, and thus temporary reductions in human-vector contacts are unlikely to result in subsequent increases in morbidity.


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