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Although Plasmodium vivax infections in Malaysia are usually imported, a significant autochthonous outbreak of vivax malaria was detected in a remote indigenous (Orang Asli) settlement located in northern peninsular Malaysia. Between November 2016 and April 2017, 164 cases of P. vivax infection were detected. Although 83.5% of the vivax cases were identified through passive case detection and contact screening during the first 7 weeks, subsequent mass blood screening (combination of rapid diagnostic tests, blood films, and polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) of the entire settlement (N = 3,757) revealed another 27 P. vivax infections, 19 of which were asymptomatic. The mapped data from this active case detection program was used to direct control efforts resulting in the successful control of the outbreak in this region. This report highlights the importance of proactive case surveillance and timely management of malaria control in Malaysia as it nears malaria elimination.
Financial support: Shairah Dzul was supported by the University of Malaya Research Fund Assistance (Grant no. BK005-2017). Jeremy Ryan de Silva was supported by the Fogarty International Center and the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health under the Global Health Equity Scholars Consortium at Yale University (D43TW010540).
Authors’ addresses: Jonathan Wee Kent Liew, Shairah Dzul, Khai Lone Lim, Jeremy Ryan de Silva, and Yee Ling Lau, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, E-mails: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Rizawati binti Mahpot, Perak State Health Department, Perak, Malaysia, E-mail: email@example.com. Hairul Anuar bin Abdul Razak and Marina binti Kamarudin, Hulu Perak District Health Office, Perak, Malaysia, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Noor Asmah binti Ahmad Shah Azizi, Kuala Kangsar District Health Office, Perak, Malaysia, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bruce Russell, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, E-mail: email@example.com. Bing Sheng Lim, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jenarun Jelip and Rose Nani binti Mudin, Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia, E-mails: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.