The Importance of an Active Case Detection (ACD) Programme for Malaria among Migrants from Malaria Endemic Countries: The Greek Experience in a Receptive and Vulnerable Area.
Greece has been malaria-free since 1974. In October 2011, following an outbreak of 36 locally acquired malaria (LAM) cases in Evrotas Municipality, a Pro-Active Case Detection (PACD) program for malaria was implemented among migrants from malaria-endemic countries, to support early diagnosis and treatment of cases. We evaluated the PACD program for the years 2012-2017 using indicators such as the number of locally acquired cases, the detection rate/sensitivity and the timeliness of diagnosis and treatment. We visited each migrant home every 7-15 days to screen migrants for malaria symptoms, performing Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and blood smears on symptomatic patients. We estimated: (i) the number of malaria cases detected by the PACD, divided by the total number of reported malaria cases during the same period among the same population; (ii) the time between onset of symptoms, diagnosis and initiation of treatment. The total number of migrants who were screened for malaria symptoms for the years 2012-2017 was 5057 with 84,169 fever screenings conducted, while 2288 RDTs and 1736 blood smears were performed. During the same period, 53 imported malaria cases were detected, while incidence of malaria among migrants was estimated at 1.8% annually. Ten and one LAM cases were also reported in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Sensitivity of PACD ranged from 86% to 100%; median timeliness between onset of symptoms and diagnosis decreased from 72 h in 2012 to 12 h in 2017 (83% decrease), while timeliness between diagnosis and treatment initiation was 0 h. The implementation of PACD could be considered an effective prevention and response tool against malaria re-introduction.