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BACKGROUND:In malaria endemic countries, asymptomatic cases constitute an important reservoir of infections sustaining transmission. Estimating the burden of the asymptomatic population and identifying areas with elevated risk is important for malaria control in Burkina Faso. This study analysed the spatial distribution of asymptomatic malaria infection among children under 5 in 24 health districts in Burkina Faso and identified the determinants of this distribution. METHODS:The data used in this study were collected in a baseline survey on "evaluation of the impact of pay for performance on the quality of care" conducted in 24 health districts in Burkina Faso, between October 2013 and March 2014. This survey involved 7844 households and 1387 community health workers. A Bayesian hierarchical logistic model that included spatial dependence and covariates was implemented to identify the determinants of asymptomatic malaria infection. The posterior probability distribution of a parameter from the model was summarized using odds ratio (OR) and 95% credible interval (95% CI). RESULTS:The overall prevalence of asymptomatic malaria infection in children under 5 years of age was estimated at 38.2%. However, significant variation was observed between districts ranging from 11.1% in the district of Barsalgho to 77.8% in the district of Gaoua. Older children (48-59 vs < 6 months: OR: 6.79 [5.62, 8.22]), children from very poor households (Richest vs poorest: OR: 0.85 [0.74-0.96]), households located more than 5 km from a health facility (< 5 km vs  ≥ 5 km: OR: 1.14 [1.04-1.25]), in localities with inadequate number of nurses (< 3 vs  ≥ 3: 0.72 [0.62, 0.82], from rural areas (OR: 1.67 [1.39-2.01]) and those surveyed in high transmission period of asymptomatic malaria (OR: 1.27 [1.10-1.46]) were most at risk for asymptomatic malaria infection. In addition, the spatial analysis identified the following nine districts that reported significantly higher risks: Batié, Boromo, Dano, Diébougou, Gaoua, Ouahigouya, Ouargaye, Sapouy and Toma. The district of Zabré reported the lowest risk. CONCLUSION:The analysis of spatial distribution of infectious reservoir allowed the identification of risk areas as well as the identification of individual and contextual factors. Such national spatial analysis should help to prioritize areas for increased malaria control activities.

Original publication





Malaria journal

Publication Date





Centre de Recherche en Epidémiologie, Biostatistiques et Recherche Clinique, Ecole de Santé Publique, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


Humans, Malaria, Prevalence, Bayes Theorem, Cross-Sectional Studies, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Burkina Faso, Female, Male, Asymptomatic Infections, Spatial Analysis