Malaria in Eritrean migrants newly arrived in seven European countries, 2011 to 2016

Klara Sondén*, Thierry Rolling, Andreas Wångdahl, Elsie Ydring, Sabine Vygen-Bonnet, Robert Kobbe, Johan Douhan, Ulf Hammar, Janneke Duijster, Brechje de Gier, Joanne Freedman, Nicole Gysin, Klaus Stark, Flora Stevens, Lasse Skafte Vestergaard, Anders Tegnell, Anna Färnert

*Corresponding author for this work

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Global migration has resulted in a large number of asylum applications in Europe. In 2014, clusters of Plasmodium vivax cases were reported among newly arrived Eritreans. This study aimed to assess malaria among Eritrean migrants in Europe from 2011 to 2016. We reviewed European migration numbers and malaria surveillance data for seven countries (Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) which received 44,050 (94.3%) of 46,730 Eritreans seeking asylum in Europe in 2014. The overall number of malaria cases, predominantly P. vivax, increased significantly in 2014 compared to previous years, with the largest increases in Germany (44 P. vivax cases in 2013 vs 294 in 2014, p < 0.001) and Sweden (18 in 2013 vs 205 in 2014, p < 0.001). Overall, malaria incidence in Eritreans increased from 1-5 to 25 cases per 1,000, and was highest in male teenagers (50 cases/1,000). In conclusion, an exceptional increase of malaria cases occurred in Europe in 2014 and 2015, due to rising numbers of Eritreans with high incidence of P. vivax arriving in Europe. Our results demonstrate potential for rapid changes in imported malaria patterns, highlighting the need for improved awareness, surveillance efforts and timely healthcare in migrants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800139
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019

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© 2019, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). All rights reserved.


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