Antibody acquisition models: A new tool for serological surveillance of malaria transmission intensity.
Yman V., White MT., Rono J., Arcà B., Osier FH., Troye-Blomberg M., Boström S., Ronca R., Rooth I., Färnert A.
Serology has become an increasingly important tool for the surveillance of a wide range of infectious diseases. It has been particularly useful to monitor malaria transmission in elimination settings where existing metrics such as parasite prevalence and incidence of clinical cases are less sensitive. Seroconversion rates, based on antibody prevalence to Plasmodium falciparum asexual blood-stage antigens, provide estimates of transmission intensity that correlate with entomological inoculation rates but lack precision in settings where seroprevalence is still high. Here we present a new and widely applicable method, based on cross-sectional data on individual antibody levels. We evaluate its use as a sero-surveillance tool in a Tanzanian setting with declining malaria prevalence. We find that the newly developed mathematical models produce more precise estimates of transmission patterns, are robust in high transmission settings and when sample sizes are small, and provide a powerful tool for serological evaluation of malaria transmission intensity.