Malaria threats to migrant workers in Ethiopia

Discover the impact of malaria on migrant workers in Ethiopia. Learn about the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria and its potential consequences for disease transmission in different regions. Find out how screening and follow-up measures can help prevent the spread of malaria among migrant populations.

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Each year, thousands of Ethiopians migrate to malaria-infested regions to work in agriculture. Preparing the ground, plowing, sowing seeds, and harvesting are the most common agricultural jobs performed by migrants. According to research, seasonal migratory workers are unlikely to transmit malaria to new or less prevalent regions. 


Seasonal migrant laborers in Metema were the subject of a cross-sectional investigation. Before returning home, 1,208 seasonal migrant laborers were interrogated. 

In-person interviews were conducted using a standardized questionnaire. Blood samples were examined for the presence of malaria parasites for each participant. 

Predictors of malaria transmission were evaluated using logistic regression. 17.5 percent (15.6–19.45 percent) of seasonal migrant workers had malaria when they departed. Plasmodium falciparum was responsible for 71.8% (177/212 cases), while Plasmodium vivax was responsible for 28.2% (35/212 cases). 


934 of the seasonal migrant workers were from rural and 660 (55%) from mountainous regions During their time in development corridors, more than half of the 661 migrants worked on two or more farms. Dembia (21.7%), Chilaga (1.9%), and Metema (1.9%) accounted for 116 (54.7%) of the asymptomatic malaria cases (13.2 percent ).

 This study determined the frequency of asymptomatic malaria among seasonal migratory workers leaving malaria-endemic areas. This could result in a rebound of malaria transmission in the mountains, making it more challenging to contain the disease's spread. 

To prevent the spread of the disease at the beginning of their journey, migrant workers should be screened for asymptomatic malaria at departure and transit points and integrated into origin and departure locations for follow-up.

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