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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Program in Public Health

UC Irvine


The mission of the public health program at the University of California, Irvine is to create, integrate, and translate population-based knowledge into preventive strategies for reducing the societal burden of human disease and disability through excellence in research, education, and public service.

Program in Public Health

There are 528 publications in this collection, published between 1993 and 2024.
Open Access Policy Deposits (528)

Clustering of malaria in households in the Greater Mekong Subregion: operational implications for reactive case detection


Malaria reactive case detection is the testing and, if positive, treatment of close contacts of index cases. It is included in national malaria control programmes of countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion to accelerate malaria elimination. Yet the value of reactive case detection in the control and elimination of malaria remains controversial because of the low yield, limited evidence for impact, and high demands on resources.


Data from the epidemiological assessments of large mass drug administration (MDA) studies in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were analysed to explore malaria infection clustering in households. The proportion of malaria positive cases among contacts screened in a hypothetical reactive case detection programme was then determined. The parasite density thresholds for rapid diagnostic test (RDT) detection was assumed to be > 50/µL (50,000/mL), for dried-blood-spot (DBS) based PCR > 5/µL (5000/mL), and for ultrasensitive PCR (uPCR) with a validated limit of detection at 0.0022/µL (22/mL).


At baseline, before MDA, 1223 Plasmodium infections were detected by uPCR in 693 households. There was clustering of Plasmodium infections. In 637 households with asymptomatic infections 44% (278/637) had more than one member with Plasmodium infections. In the 132 households with symptomatic infections, 65% (86/132) had more than one member with Plasmodium infections. At baseline 4% of households had more than one Plasmodium falciparum infection, but three months after MDA no household had more than one P. falciparum infected member. Reactive case detection using DBS PCR would have detected ten additional cases in six households, and an RDT screen would have detected five additional cases in three households among the 169 households with at least one RDT positive case. This translates to 19 and 9 additional cases identified per 1000 people screened, respectively. Overall, assuming all febrile RDT positive patients would seek treatment and provoke reactive case detection using RDTs, then 1047 of 1052 (99.5%) Plasmodium infections in these communities would have remained undetected.


Reactive case detection in the Greater Mekong subregion is predicted to have a negligible impact on the malaria burden, but it has substantial costs in terms of human and financial resources.

Feasibility and acceptability of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) or acupuncture for insomnia and related distress among cancer caregivers


Insomnia is a common, distressing, and impairing psychological outcome experienced by informal caregivers (ICs) of patients with cancer. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and acupuncture both have known benefits for patients with cancer, but such benefits have yet to be evaluated among ICs. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary effects of CBT-I and acupuncture among ICs with moderate or greater levels of insomnia.


Participants were randomized to eight sessions of CBT-I or ten sessions of acupuncture.


Results highlighted challenges of identifying interested and eligible ICs and the impact of perception of intervention on retention and likely ultimately outcome.

Significance of the results

Findings suggest preliminary support for non-pharmacological interventions to treat insomnia in ICs and emphasize the importance of matching treatment modality to the preferences and needs of ICs.

Multidisciplinary Investigations of Sustained Malaria Transmission in the Greater Mekong Subregion

In the course of malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), malaria epidemiology has experienced drastic spatiotemporal changes with residual transmission concentrated along international borders and the rising predominance of Plasmodium vivax. The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum parasites resistant to artemisinin and partner drugs renders artemisinin-based combination therapies less effective while the potential spread of multidrug-resistant parasites elicits concern. Vector behavioral changes and insecticide resistance have reduced the effectiveness of core vector control measures. In recognition of these problems, the Southeast Asian International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMR) has been conducting multidisciplinary research to determine how human migration, antimalarial drug resistance, vector behavior, and insecticide resistance sustain malaria transmission at international borders. These efforts allow us to comprehensively understand the ecology of border malaria transmission and develop population genomics tools to identify and track parasite introduction. In addition to employing in vivo, in vitro, and molecular approaches to monitor the emergence and spread of drug-resistant parasites, we also use genomic and genetic methods to reveal novel mechanisms of antimalarial drug resistance of parasites. We also use omics and population genetics approaches to study insecticide resistance in malaria vectors and identify changes in mosquito community structure, vectorial potential, and seasonal dynamics. Collectively, the scientific findings from the ICEMR research activities offer a systematic view of the factors sustaining residual malaria transmission and identify potential solutions to these problems to accelerate malaria elimination in the GMS.

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