Malaria in gold-mining areas in Colombia|
Castellanos, Angélica; Chaparro-Narváez, Pablo; Morales-Plaza, Cristhian David; Alzate, Alberto; Padilla, Julio; Arévalo, Myriam & Herrera, Sócrates
Gold-mining may play an important role in the maintenance of malaria worldwide. Gold-mining, mostly illegal,
has significantly expanded in Colombia during the last decade in areas with limited health care and disease prevention.
We report a descriptive study that was carried out to determine the malaria prevalence in gold-mining areas of
Colombia, using data from the public health surveillance system (National Health Institute) during the period 2010-
2013. Gold-mining was more prevalent in the departments of Antioquia, Córdoba, Bolívar, Chocó, Nariño, Cauca,
and Valle, which contributed 89.3% (270,753 cases) of the national malaria incidence from 2010-2013 and 31.6%
of malaria cases were from mining areas. Mining regions, such as El Bagre, Zaragoza, and Segovia, in Antioquia,
Puerto Libertador and Montelíbano, in Córdoba, and Buenaventura, in Valle del Cauca, were the most endemic areas.
The annual parasite index (API) correlated with gold production (R2 0.82, p < 0.0001); for every 100 kg of gold
produced, the API increased by 0.54 cases per 1,000 inhabitants. Lack of malaria control activities, together with
high migration and proliferation of mosquito breeding sites, contribute to malaria in gold-mining regions. Specific
control activities must be introduced to control this significant source of malaria in Colombia.
mining; malaria; Plasmodium vivax; Plasmodium falciparum; gold