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Investigating the impact of enhanced community case management and monthly screening and treatment on the transmissibility of malaria infections in Burkina Faso: study protocol for a cluster-randomised trial

13 Sep 2019

Introduction

A large proportion of malaria-infected individuals in endemic areas do not experience symptoms that prompt treatment-seeking. These asymptomatically infected individuals may retain their infections for many months during which sexual-stage parasites (gametocytes) are produced that may be transmissible to mosquitoes. Reductions in malaria transmission could be achieved by detecting and treating these infections early. This study assesses the impact of enhanced community case management (CCM) and monthly screening and treatment (MSAT) on the prevalence and transmissibility of malaria infections.

Methods and analysis

This cluster-randomised trial will take place in Sapone, an area of intense, highly seasonal malaria in Burkina Faso. In total, 180 compounds will be randomised to one of three interventions: arm 1 - current standard of care with passively monitored malaria infections; arm 2 - standard of care plus enhanced CCM, comprising active weekly screening for fever, and detection and treatment of infections in fever positive individuals using conventional rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs); or arm 3 - standard of care and enhanced CCM, plus MSAT using RDTs. The study will be conducted over approximately 18 months covering two high-transmission seasons and the intervening dry season. The recruitment strategy aims to ensure that overall transmission and force of infection is not affected so we are able to continuously evaluate the impact of interventions in the context of ongoing intense malaria transmission. The main objectives of the study are to determine the impact of enhanced CCM and MSAT on the prevalence and density of parasitaemia and gametocytaemia and the transmissibility of infections. This will be achieved by molecular detection of infections in all study participants during start and end season cross-sectional surveys and routine sampling of malaria-positive individuals to assess their infectiousness to mosquitoes.

Ethics and dissemination

The study has been reviewed and approved by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) (Review number: 14724) and The Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme institutional review board (IRB) (Deliberation N° 2018/000002/MS/SG/CNRFP/CIB) and Burkina Faso national medical ethics committees (Deliberation N° 2018-01-010).

Findings of the study will be shared with the community via local opinion leaders and community meetings. Results may also be shared through conferences, seminars, reports, theses and peer-reviewed publications; disease occurrence data and study outcomes will be shared with the Ministry of Health. Data will be published in an online digital repository.

Trial registration number

NCT03705624.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open