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Trends Parasitol. 2007 May;23(5):193-6. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

Plasmodium vivax in Africa: hidden in plain sight?

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  • 1Division of Vector Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80535, USA.

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  • Trends Parasitol. 2007 Jul;23(7):304.


People who live in tropical Africa, south of the Sahara, are predominantly negative for the Duffy blood-group antigen, which mediates invasion of reticulocytes by Plasmodium vivax. Recent reports of a parasite that was molecularly diagnosed as P. vivax from populations who are suspected, or known, to be Duffy negative confound a large body of evidence that states that invasion of P. vivax requires the Duffy antigen. If confirmed, one of several possible explanations is that P. vivax, which originated in Asia, is now evolving to exploit alternate invasion receptors in Africa.

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