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In 1999 in the Netherlands, the duty to notify malaria was transferred from physicians to laboratories by the new Infectious Diseases Law. To evaluate the effect of this change, we aimed to estimate completeness of malaria notification in the Netherlands from 1995-2003. We calculated it relative to sentinel laboratory and hospital admission data. Using the two-source capture-recapture method (CRM), we estimated the total number of cases to assess the completeness relative to this number. The completeness of notification relative to sentinel data was 18.2 % (95% CI of 15.7-20.7) from 1995-1998 and 56.4 % (95% CI of 47.0-65.8) for 2000-2003. The completeness relative to the number of malaria cases admitted to the hospital was 35.1 % for the period 1995-2003. The estimated numbers of cases of malaria between 1995 and 1998 were 3123 (95% CI of 2796-3449) and 5043 (95% CI of 4343-5742) between 2000 and 2003. The completeness relative to this numbers changed from 35.5 % (95% CI of 32.1-39.7) in 1995-1998 to 36.1 % (95% CI of 31.7-41.9) for the years 2000-2003. Laboratory-based notification has significantly increased the absolute number of malaria notifications, but there was no change in completeness relative to hospital admissions. The increase in estimated malaria cases may be artificial, due to the extent of violation of CRM requirements over the study period.


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