Epidemiology of Malaria in Thailand

Krongthong Thimasarn, Siriporn Jatapadma, Saowanit Vijaykadga, Jeerapat Sirichaisinthop, Chansuda Wongsrichanalai
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.1995.tb00627.x 59-65 First published online: 1 June 1995


Background In spite of significant achievements in malaria control in the past two decades, about 150,000 malaria cases still occur in Thailand each year. Although most short-term visitors to Thailand stay in malaria-free areas, an increasing number of more adventurous travelers are exposed to the disease.

Method Since 1987, the Malaria Division of the Thai Ministry of Public Health has maintained a computerized database that includes all malaria cases recorded at malaria clinics, government health institutions, and private hospitals nationwide. In this article, we analyze the 1992 data.

Results The provinces of Trad, Tak, and Kanchanaburi had the highest incidence of locally transmitted cases. Trad Province was also responsible for the highest number of imported cases. The highest incidence rate was found to be 426.5 per 1000 persons per year in a group of villages in Maesod District, Tak Province. Districts and provinces with ≥ 20 cases per 1000 persons per year are listed in this report. Peak transmission seasons and species prevalence of different endemic areas are described. Analysis of case investigation, a part of this database, indirectly supported the presence of mefloquine resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains on the Thai-Cambodian border.

Conclusions This paper describes the characteristics of malaria in different parts of Thailand and pinpoints areas with significant transmission. However, in accordance with the present policy of the Thai national malaria control program, we do not recommend chemoprophylaxis, but we do strongly encourage personal protection, early diagnosis, and prompt treatment.