Objective This study estimated the annual incidence of imported malaria in Qatar from 1997 to 2006 and described the epidemiological features of malaria from 2004 to 2006.
Methods A retrospective review was conducted of the imported malaria cases in Qatar reported by the malaria surveillance program during the period 1997 to 2006 to estimate annual incidence. Data on 438 malaria cases reported during 2004 to 2006 were analyzed to describe the epidemiological features of imported malaria in Qatar.
Results The incidence of malaria in 1997 was 58.6/100,000, and since then, it has shown a consistent decline to reach the lowest rate of 9.5/100,000 in 2004. After that the incidence of malaria has increased by more than two times in 2005 and 2006. All 438 malaria cases were contracted as a result of travel to endemic countries, namely India, Pakistan, and Sudan. The majority of cases were male, non-Qatari, and aged 15 years and older. Plasmodium vivax was the main etiologic agent in 40% of cases and most occurred between August and October.
Conclusions Imported malaria reported in Qatar has shown an increase in the past 2 years after a long period of constant reduction, and the people most affected were adult male migrants from endemic countries. This group should be targeted by malaria prevention programs.