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Environmental factors as determinants of malaria risk. A descriptive study on the northern coast of Peru

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We conducted a series of studies on the northern Pacific coast of Peru to determine environmental risk factors for malaria. We report in this paper the results of both a descriptive study of incidence and a prevalence survey of malaria. Both studies showed that the area was at low risk for malaria. The malaria incidence rate was 40/1000 p.a. during the study period, and the prevalence of infection was 0.9% (95% CI: 0.4–1.7) before and 1.4% (95% CI: 0.8–2.2) after the high incidence period. However, the risk of malaria varied according to season, village and even house within a single village. Incidence rates increased from February (2.6/1000 p.a.) to May (12.9/1000 p.a.) and decreased during the second part of the year. Most of the cases were clustered in four villages that constituted only 21% of the total population of the area. Houses where multiple cases were recorded were often located near a source of water. Our observations suggested that environmental factors, and particularly the presence of water for irrigation around villages and houses, played a major role in determining the risk of malaria. These observations were extended through an entomological study and a case–control study, to be published elsewhere.
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Keywords: Peru; environmental risk factors; epidemiology; incidence rate; malaria; malaria mortality; parasite rate; prevalence; spleen rate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Infectious and Tropical Disease Department, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, London School of Hygiene   and Tropical Medicine, England, 2: Instituto de Medicina Tropical `Alexander von Humboldt', Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru, 3: Servicio de Epidemiologia, Subregion de Salud Luciano Castillo Coloma, Sullana, Peru

Publication date: 01 June 2002

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