OBJECTIVE: We aimed to assess the occurrence of malaria-positive cases in 4 rural Burundian hospitals during December 2011 placed at different altitudes above sea level.
METHODS: Diagnosis of malaria was made upon considering clinical symptoms, microscopic evaluation and rapid diagnostic test results. We performed analysis of patient's clinical data collected in 4 hospitals in Burundi to compare the occurrence of malaria at different altitudes.
RESULTS: The lowest incidence of malaria during December 2011 was detected at Murago Hospital (606 cases per month, 47.6%), which is located in the highest altitude, and the highest occurrence was in Gasura (1,559 cases, 91.3%), then in Rutovu (732 cases, 81.2%) and Buraniro (4,436 cases, 78.6%). Compared with other types of consultations (gynecological, HIV/AIDS, other tropical diseases), malaria was the most frequent reason for medical consultation.
CONCLUSION: We have observed the lowest occurrence of malaria at hospitals located in the highest altitude. Despite the lower number of malaria cases in higher altitudes, its impact on public health should not be underestimated.