Asymptomatic Malaria and its Challenges in the Malaria Elimination Program in Iran: a Systematic Review
AbstractBackground: The objective of this study was to find an appropriate approach to asymptomatic malaria in elimination setting through a systematic review.Methods: A broad search was conducted to find articles with the words ‘malaria’ in their titles and ‘asymptomatic’ or ‘submicroscopic’ in their texts, irrespective of the type of study conducted. The Cochrane, Medline/PubMed, and Scopus databases, as well as Google Scholar were systematically searched for English articles and reports and Iran’s databases- IranMedex, SID and Magiran were searched for Persian reports and articles, with no time limitation. The study was qualitatively summarized if it contained precise information on the role of asymptomatic malaria in the elimination phase.Results: Six articles were selected from the initial 2645 articles. The results all re-emphasize the significance of asymptomatic malaria in the elimination phase, and emphasize the significance of diagnostic tests of higher sensitivity to locate these patients and perform interventions to reduce the asymptomatic parasitic reservoirs particularly in regions of low transmission. However, we may infer from the results that the current evidence cannot yet specify an accurate strategy on the role of asymptomatic malaria in the elimination phase.Conclusion: To eliminate malaria, alongside vector control, and treatment of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, active and inactive methods of case detection need to be employed. The precise monitoring of asymptomatic individuals and submicroscopic cases of malaria through molecular assays and valid serological methods, especially in regions where seasonal and low transmission exists can be very helpful at this phase.
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