Burundi has experienced an increase in malaria cases since 2000, reaching 843,000 cases per million inhabitants in 2019, a more than twofold increase compared to the early 2000s. Burundi thus contrasts the decreasing number of cases in many other African countries. To evaluate the impact of malaria control on this increase, data on interventions from 2000 to 2019 were compiled. Over this period, the number of health facilities increased threefold, and the number of tests 20-fold. The test positivity rate remained stable at around 50-60% in most years. Artemisinin-based combination therapy was introduced in 2003, initially using artesunate-amodiaquine and changed to artemether-lumefantrine in 2019/2020. Mass distribution campaigns of insecticide-treated bed nets were conducted, and indoor residual spraying and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy introduced. Thus, the increase in cases was not the result of faltering control activities. Increased testing was likely a key contributor to higher case numbers. Despite the increase in testing, the test positivity rate remined high, indicating that current case numbers might still underestimate the true burden.
Keywords: Epidemic; Intervention; Malaria control; Outbreak.