Changes in the endemic-epidemic pattern of malaria in Colombia, 1978-2021

Julio Cesar Padilla Rodríguez, Mario Javier Olivera, Luis Acuña Cantillo, Pablo Chaparro-Narváez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Malaria is a major global public health issue with varying epidemiologies across countries. In Colombia, it is a priority endemic-epidemic event included in the national public health policy. However, evidence demonstrating nationwide variations in the disease behavior is limited. This study aimed to analyze changes in the levels and distribution of endemic-epidemic malaria transmission in the eco-epidemiological regions of Colombia from 1978 to 1999 and 2000 to 2021. METHODS: We conducted a comprehensive time-series study using official secondary data on malaria-associated morbidity and mortality in Colombia from 1978 to 2021. Temporal-spatial and population variables were analyzed, and the absolute and relative frequency measures of general and regional morbidity and mortality were estimated. RESULTS: We observed an 18% reduction in malaria endemic cases between the two study periods. The frequency and severity of the epidemic transmission of malaria varied less and were comparable across both periods. A shift was observed in the frequency of parasitic infections, with a tendency to match and increase infections by Plasmodium falciparum. The risk of malaria transmission varied significantly among the eco-epidemiological regions during both study periods. This study demonstrated a sustained decrease of 78% in malarial mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Although the endemic components of malaria decreased slightly between the two study periods, the epidemic pattern persisted. There were significant variations in the risk of transmission across the different eco-epidemiological regions. These findings underscore the importance of targeted public health interventions in reducing malarial morbidity and mortality rates in Colombia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e00405
JournalRevista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical
Volume57
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

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