Understanding the role of serological and clinical data on assessing the dynamic of malaria transmission: a case study of Bagamoyo district, Tanzania
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Introduction: naturally acquired blood-stage malaria antibodies and malaria clinical data have been reported to be useful in monitoring malaria change over time and as a marker of malaria exposure. This study assessed the total immunoglobulin G(IgG) levels to Plasmodium falciparum schizont among infants (5-17 months), estimated malaria incidence using routine health facility-based surveillance data and predicted trend relation between anti-schizont antibodies and malaria incidence in Bagamoyo. Methods: 252 serum samples were used for assessment of total IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and results were expressed in arbitrary units (AU). 147/252 samples were collected in 2021 during a blood-stage malaria vaccine trial [ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04318002], and 105/252 were archived samples of malaria vaccine trial conducted in 2012 [ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00866619]. Malaria incidence was calculated from outpatient clinic data of malaria rapid test or blood smear positive results retrieved from District-Health-Information Software-2 (DHIS2) between 2013 and 2020. Cross sectional data from both studies were analysed using STATA version 14. Results: this study demonstrated a decline in total anti-schizont IgG levels from 490.21AU in 2012 to 97.07AU in 2021 which was related to a fall in incidence from 58.25 cases/1000 person-year in 2013 to 14.28 cases/1000 person-year in 2020. We also observed a significant difference in incidence when comparing high and low malaria transmission areas and by gender. However, we did not observe differences when comparing total anti-schizont antibodies by gender and study year. Conclusion: total anti-schizont antibody levels appear to be an important serological marker of exposure for assessing the dynamic of malaria transmission in infants living in malaria-endemic regions.