Background: Intensive malaria control may have additional benefits beyond reducing the incidence of symptomatic malaria. We compared antibiotic treatment of children before and after the implementation of highly effective malaria control interventions in Tororo, a historically high transmission area of Uganda. Methods: Two successive cohorts of children, aged 0.5 to 10 years, were followed from September 2011 to October 2019 in a dedicated study clinic. Universal distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets was conducted in 2013 and 2017. Sustained indoor residual spraying of insecticide (IRS) was initiated in December 2014. Generalized linear mixed-effects models were used to compare the incidence of antimalarial and antibiotic treatments before and after vector control measures were implemented. Results: Comparing the period prior to the implementation of IRS to the period after IRS had been sustained for 4–5 years, the adjusted incidence of malaria treatments decreased from 2.68 to 0.05 per person-year (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.02, 95% CI 0.01–0.03, p < 0.001), and the adjusted incidence of antibiotic treatments decreased from 4.14 to 1.26 per person-year (IRR = 0.30, 95% CI 0.27–0.34, p < 0.001). The reduction in antibiotic usage was primarily associated with fewer episodes of symptomatic malaria and fewer episodes of fever with sub-microscopic parasitemia, both of which were frequently treated with antibiotics. Conclusions: In a historically high transmission setting, the implementation of highly effective vector control interventions was followed by a marked reduction in antibiotic treatment of children. This added benefit of malaria control could have important implications for antibiotic prescribing practices, efforts to curtail antimicrobial resistance, and health system costs.
- Antibiotic prescriptions
- Antibiotic usage
- Malaria control
- Pediatric infectious diseases
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