Unstable Hypoendemic Malaria in Rondonia (Western Amazon Region, Brazil): Epidemic Outbreaks and Work-Associated Incidence in an Agro-Industrial Rural Settlement

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  • Departmento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Centro de Medicina Tropical de Rondonia, Secretaria de Saude do Estado de Rondonia, Unite de Parasitologie Experimentale, Institut Pasteur, Sao Paulo, Brazil
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A longitudinal study was conducted from January 1991 to January 1992 on the Urupa farm, a rural agro-industrial forestry settlement in Rondonia state (Western Amazon Region, Brazil) to define the parasitologic and clinical profile of malaria. Three cross-sectional, parasitologic, and clinical surveys were performed. In the intervals between surveys, malaria cases were monitored by twice a week medical visits to the farm and permanent local surveillance. The population of residents was approximately 170 and was characterized by high mobility. The slide positive rates found in the cross-sectional surveys were 0.5, 4.2 and 2.1, respectively, for the total population (Plasmodium vivax plus P. falciparum). Spleen rate values in children 2–9 years old were always less than 1%. However, this basically hypoendemic malaria situation was unstable, with occurrence of a typical epidemic outbreak at the end of the dry season. The total number of malaria cases recorded from January to December 1991 was 163, giving an annual parasite index of 970 per 1,000 inhabitants. However, sex and age distribution of cases showed rare incidence of malaria in infants and low incidence in children less than the age of 10. Male adults 16–40 years of age represented the main risk group. The observed clustering of cases allowed us to identify the place of work as a factor responsible for high incidence of malaria among adults. The general epidemiologic profile indicated that indoors transmission of malaria by the local Anopheles vector was low or absent.