Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Biannual versus annual mass azithromycin distribution and malaria seroepidemiology among preschool children in Niger: a sub-study of a cluster randomized trial.



Biannual mass azithromycin administration to preschool children reduces all-cause mortality, but the mechanism for the effect is not understood. Azithromycin has activity against malaria parasites, and malaria is a leading cause of child mortality in the Sahel. The effect of biannual versus annual azithromycin distribution for trachoma control on serological response to merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-119), a surrogate for malaria incidence, was evaluated among children in Niger.


Markers of malaria exposure were measured in two arms of a factorial randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate targeted biannual azithromycin distribution to children under 12 years of age compared to annual azithromycin to the entire community for trachoma control (N = 12 communities per arm). Communities were treated for 36 months (6 versus 3 distributions). Dried blood spots were collected at 36 months among children ages 1-5 years, and MSP-119 antibody levels were assessed using a bead-based multiplex assay to measure malaria seroprevalence.


Antibody results were available for 991 children. MSP-119 seropositivity was 62.7% in the biannual distribution arm compared to 68.7% in the annual arm (prevalence ratio 0.91, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.00). Mean semi-quantitative antibody levels were lower in the biannual distribution arm compared to the annual arm (mean difference - 0.39, 95% CI - 0.05 to - 0.72).


Targeted biannual azithromycin distribution was associated with lower malaria seroprevalence compared to that in a population that received annual distribution. Trial Registration NCT00792922.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View