Background: Malaria is highly prevalent in many parts of India and the Indian subcontinent. Mangaluru, a city in the southwest coastal region of Karnataka state in India, and surrounding areas are malaria endemic with 10-12 annual parasite index. Despite high endemicity, to-date, very little has been reported on the epidemiology and burden of malaria in this area. Methods: A cross-sectional surveillance of malaria cases was performed among 900 febrile symptomatic native people (long-time residents) and immigrant labourers (temporary residents) living in Mangaluru city area. During each of dry, rainy, and end of rainy season, blood samples from a group of 300 randomly selected symptomatic people were screened for malaria infection. Data on socio-demographic, literacy, knowledge of malaria, and treatment-seeking behaviour were collected to understand the socio-demographic contributions to malaria menace in this region. Results: Malaria is prevalent in Mangaluru region throughout the year and Plasmodium vivax is predominant species compared to Plasmodium falciparum. The infection frequency was found to be high during rainy season. Infections were markedly higher in males than females, and in adults aged 16-45 years than both younger and older age groups. Also, malaria incidence was high among immigrants compared to native population. In both groups, infection rate was directly correlated with their literacy level, knowledge on malaria, dwelling environment, and protective measures used. There was also a significant difference in treatment-seeking behaviour between these two groups. Conclusions: Malaria incidences in Mangaluru region are predominantly localized to certain hotspot areas within the city, where socioeconomically underprivileged and immigrant labourers are densely populated. These areas have inadequate sanitation and constant water stagnation, harbouring high vector density and contributing to high infection incidences. Additionally, people in these areas seldom practice preventive measures such as using bed nets. The high incidences of malaria in adults are due to minimal cloth wearing, and long working hours stretching to late evenings in places with high vector density. Instituting heightened preventive public measures by governments and creating awareness on using preventive protective and environmental hygienic measures through educational programmes may substantially reduce the risk of contracting infections in these areas and spreading to other areas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases