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Title: Morbidity and mortality due to Plasmodium vivax malaria in Papua, Indonesia and its control using antimalarial drugs
Author: Douglas, Nicholas Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 7831
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Plasmodium vivax malaria threatens nearly half the world’s population. This relapsing disease may be more severe than previously recognised and is proving refractory to current malaria control measures. This thesis aimed to describe the burden of anaemia and mortality attributable to vivax malaria in Southern Papua, Indonesia, an area endemic for multidrug-resistant P. vivax and P. falciparum, and to determine the potential of currently available antimalarial drugs to reduce transmission of P. vivax in co-endemic regions. Approximately 0.5 million uniquely identified clinical records from patients presenting to Mitra Masyarakat Hospital between April 2004 and May 2009 were matched with corresponding laboratory and pharmacy data in order to determine the burden of anaemia in the hospital setting and the effectiveness of primaquine prescription for preventing P. vivax relapses. Clinical information extracted from patient notes was used to clarify the contribution of P. vivax malaria to a series of deaths detected by an active hospital-based surveillance system. Additional secondary sources of data used in this thesis included a large house-to-house survey and multiple clinical trials of antimalarial therapy from both Southern Papua and Northwestern Thailand. In Southern Papua, P. vivax malaria is an important cause of haematological morbidity both in the hospital and community setting. This morbidity is most significant in the first year of life when P. vivax infection accounts for 23% of all severe anaemia (haemoglobin <5g/dL) in the hospital and approximately 28% of all moderate-to-severe anaemia (haemoglobin <7g/dL) in the community. In this region concomitant P. vivax infection accentuates haematological impairment associated with P. falciparum malaria. Plasmodium vivax in Southern Papua rarely causes death directly but rather indirectly contributes to mortality through exacerbation of comorbid conditions. In Northwestern Thailand, 53.8% of patients with falciparum malaria who were treated with a rapidly eliminated drug between 1991 and 2005 had a recurrence of vivax malaria within two months making P. vivax infection the most common cause of parasitological failure in these individuals. Slowly eliminated artemisinin combination therapies (ACT) provided the greatest protection against recurrent P. vivax parasitaemia during 63 days of follow-up. In three randomised controlled trials from Papua and Thailand, P. vivax gametocytaemia was shown to mirror asexual parasitaemia closely and to have the same characteristics in acute and recurrent infections. This emphasises that the most important chemotherapeutic means of blocking P. vivax transmission is prevention of future relapse. Primaquine is recommended for this purpose but analyses in this thesis suggest that in Southern Papua, unsupervised primaquine at a dose of 0.5mg/kg/day for 14 days, does not reduce the risk of subsequent relapse (Adjusted Hazard Ratio = 1.01 [95% confidence interval 0.95-1.07]). Plasmodium vivax malaria should not be neglected. High priority must be given to new hypnozoitocidal drug discovery. In the interim, optimising the safety and effectiveness of primaquine and adoption of a unified ACT-based blood schizontocidal treatment strategy for malaria of any parasitological cause in co-endemic regions will be crucial for controlling P. vivax malaria.
Supervisor: Price, Ric ; Anstey, Nicholas ; Angus, Brian Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical sciences ; Infectious diseases ; Malaria ; Tropical medicine ; Epidemiology ; Medicine ; Infectious Diseases ; Epidemiology ; Treatment ; Malaria ; Plasmodium vivax