Importance of household-level risk factors in explaining micro-epidemiology of asymptomatic malaria infections in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia

3 Aug 2018
Bannister-Tyrrell M, Srun S, Sluydts V, Gryseels C, Mean V, Kim S, Sokny M, Peeters Grietens K, Coosemans M, Menard D, Tho S, Van Bortel W, Durnez L.

Heterogeneity in malaria risk is considered a challenge for malaria elimination. A cross-sectional study was conducted to describe and explain micro-epidemiological variation in Plasmodium infection prevalence at household and village level in three villages in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia. A two-level logistic regression model with a random intercept fitted for each household was used to model the odds of Plasmodium infection, with sequential adjustment for individual-level then household-level risk factors. Individual-level risk factors for Plasmodium infection included hammock net use and frequency of evening outdoor farm gatherings in adults, and older age in children. Household-level risk factors included house wall material, crop types, and satellite dish and farm machine ownership. Individual-level risk factors did not explain differences in odds of Plasmodium infection between households or between villages. In contrast, once household-level risk factors were taken into account, there was no significant difference in odds of Plasmodium infection between households and between villages. This study shows the importance of ongoing indoor and peridomestic transmission in a region where forest workers and mobile populations have previously been the focus of attention. Interventions targeting malaria risk at household level should be further explored.