To characterise the epidemiology of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytemia and determine the prevalence, age structure and the viability of a predictive model for detection.Methods
We collected data from 21 therapeutic efficacy trials conducted in India during 2009-2010 and estimated the contribution of each age group to the reservoir of transmission. We built a predictive model for gametocytemia and calculated the diagnostic utility of different score cut-offs from our risk score.Results
Gametocytemia was present in 18% (248/1 335) of patients and decreased with age. Adults constituted 43%, school-age children 45% and under fives 12% of the reservoir for potential transmission. Our model retained age, sex, region and previous antimalarial drug intake as predictors of gametocytemia. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve was 0.76 (95% CI:0.73,0.78), and a cut-off of 14 or more on a risk score ranging from 0 to 46 provided 91% (95%CI:88,95) sensitivity and 33% (95%CI:31,36) specificity for detecting gametocytemia.Conclusions
Gametocytemia was common in India and varied by region. Notably, adults contributed substantially to the reservoir for potential transmission. Predictive modelling to generate a clinical algorithm for detecting gametocytemia did not provide sufficient discrimination for targeting interventions.