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Cross-sectional survey of malaria prevalence in tsunami-affected districts of Aceh Province, Indonesia

David Muriuki1, Sigrid Hahn2*, Braden Hexom2 and Richard Allan1

Author Affiliations

1 The MENTOR Initiative, La Prade11150 Villasavary France

2 Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Box 1149, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY, 10029, USA

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International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2012, 5:11  doi:10.1186/1865-1380-5-11

Published: 21 February 2012



Malaria is endemic to Indonesia. However, there are few prevalence data available from Aceh Province because of the long-standing separatist conflict and decentralization of the public health system. The Mentor Initiative, which specializes in malaria control in humanitarian emergencies, was one of the non-governmental organizations to respond to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh. Data on malaria prevalence were gathered to guide and evaluate programmatic efforts.


The Mentor Initiative conducted community-based malaria prevalence surveys in 2005 and 2006 in five districts along the tsunami-affected western coastline. A total of 11,763 individuals in 3,771 households were tested. The overall slide positivity rate in 2005 and 2006 for all Plasmodium species was 2.1% (n = 252, 95% CI 1.9%-2.4%). Slide positivity rates ranged from 0 to 55% among villages. Overall, 57% of the 252 cases were infected with P. falciparum (n = 144, 95% CI 51.0%-63.3%), and 40.1% were infected with P. vivax (n = 101, 95% CI 34.0%-46.1%), with 0.03% (n = 7, 95% CI 0.8%-4.8%) being mixed infections. Males were significantly more likely to be affected than females (2.8% vs 1.5%, p < 0.01). Infection was more common in those over the age of 5 (2.3% vs. 0.6%, p < 0.01).


Local prevalence data are needed to design effective community-based malaria control programs, as endemicity varies greatly within districts. Certain villages were found to be hyperendemic, with slide positivity rates far higher than average in Indonesia. There is a need for ongoing malaria surveillance in Aceh Province to monitor prevention and treatment efforts.