Epidemiological trends over a ten-year period of malaria in a non-endemic area of Saudi Arabia

This study aimed to determine the epidemiological characteristics of imported malaria infections in Al-Ahsa, Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, based on a retrospective analysis of central laboratory records over the last ten-year period from 2005 to 2015. Records showing details of all positive slides for malaria blood films over a 10-year period were analysed. The focus was on identifying the common types of malarial parasites in the area, the nationality and the age of the patients. 631771 patients were screened for malaria during the 10-year period of which 692 slides (0.1%) were positive. Mean annual positivity was 63 slides/year. Out of the positive slides 527 (76%) showed Plasmodium vivax, 79 (11.5%) showed Plasmodium falciparum, 71 (10.5%) showed Plasmodium malariae and 15 (2%) showed a combination infections. The prevalence of malaria continues to be low in Al-Ahsa. Among the affected patients, the vast majority are expatriates indicating that most of the infections are imported cases.

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