SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Mass drug administration credited with stopping malaria in Greece

MDA credited with stopping malaria spread in Greece | Courtesy of york.ac.uk
A mass drug administration (MDA) program has been credited with preventing malaria from spreading throughout Greece, which experienced a resurgence in 2011.

In 1974, Greece was named free of malaria. With P. vivax malaria reappearing in 2011, Southern Greece traced the virus to agricultural workers who traveled from regions that are endemic with malaria. There were 1,270 immigrant workers involved in the implemented program.

To stop the spread, health professionals enforced standard control measures for 12 months. These measures included active case detection and intesified vector control. After these measures were complete, the health administration implemented an MDA program.

From 1974 to 2011, Greece had just a few, sporadic malaria cases. With the arrival of 21 P. vivax cases in immigrants, there were an additional 36 local cases. The control program required immigrants to be screened at house visits. The screen involved rapid diagnostic tests that included blood sampling as well as molecular testing. Anyone who tested positive for malaria received directly observed treatment.

Health care workers also conducted indoor residual spraying. Residents who lived near mosquito breeding sites were given long-lasting insecticide nets.

In 2013 and 2014, Greece reported no new malaria cases.

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