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Spatio-temporal distribution of Plasmodium falciparum and p. Vivax malaria in Thailand.


Malaria incidence data at the district level from 1997 to 2002 and total malaria case data from 1965 to 2002 in Thailand were analyzed to determine the spatial and temporal dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria incidence. Over the 37-year period, there was a 35-fold reduction in the incidence rates of P. falciparum malaria (11.86% in 1965 versus 0.34% in 2002) and a 7-fold reduction in P. vivax malaria (2.89% in 1965 versus 0.40% in 2002). The incidence ratio of P. falciparum to P. vivax malaria was reduced from 4.1 to 0.8 during this period. Malaria incidence rate exhibited the most rapid reduction between 1975 and 1985, coinciding with the introduction of a combination of antifolate drugs (sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine). The distribution maps of P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria incidence rates indicated a high spatial heterogeneity. The Thailand-Myanmar and Thailand-Cambodia border areas, where migration of foreign workers was pronounced, had the highest incidence rates for P. falciparum, P. vivax, and mixed-species infections. Transition probability analysis based on the malaria incidence rate among Thai residents indicated that there was an overall trend of decrease in the number of malaria cases and the number of high incidence districts between 1997 and 2002. High spatial variation in malaria incidence and local human migration patterns suggest that malaria control measures need to be adjusted according to local environmental and demographic settings.

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