A Malaria Survey of Cuba

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Summary and Conclusions

  1. 1.In a malaria survey covering the entire island of Cuba, 90,767 children were examined for enlarged spleens and 42,320 were examined for parasites.
  2. 2.Low spleen rates were found in all six provinces, the highest being in Camagüey, where 16 per cent of the children examined had palpable spleens. Only seven out of 134 municipalities had spleen rates over 20 per cent. Only one was over 30 per cent.
  3. 3.Only 201 children were found with parasites at the time of examination. Infections were equally divided between Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum.
  4. 4.Malaria is not endemic in a large part of the country, and only mildly to moderately endemic in limited areas in the rest of the territory. The Provinces of Havana, Matanzas, and most of Santa Clara have a negligible malaria problem, while the disease is more serious in the other provinces.
  5. 5.While malaria is not endemic, yearly epidemics occur in localized areas, and at long intervals widespread epidemics take place.
  6. 6.The comparative freedom of the island from malaria is due in part to the porous character of the soil in large sections of the country, favoring quick run-off of the rains. Much of the epidemic malaria is man made.
  7. 7.Five species of Anopheles were found: albimanus, crucians, grabhami, vestitipennis, and atropos. Atropos was encountered for the first time in Cuba during the survey.
  8. 8.Albimanus was the most prevalent species and is considered to be the principal malaria vector. Crucians was found naturally infected and probably transmits malaria in certain areas near the coast. Vestitipennis cannot be ruled out as an occasional vector. The other two species are not implicated.