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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Dec;87(6):996-1003. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0202. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Surveillance of molecular markers of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine 5 years after the change of malaria treatment policy in Ghana.

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  • 1Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Legon, Accra, Ghana. nduah@noguchi.mimcom.org


In 2005, sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) became the drug of choice for intermittent preventive treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) in Ghana. Reports suggest the use of SP by others to treat uncomplicated malaria. Because of the increased use of SP, the prevalence of mutations in the genes, dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr), and dihydropteroate synthetase (dhps), linked to SP resistance in P. falciparum were determined. Blood samples from 945 children with uncomplicated malaria collected at nine sites from 2003 to 2010 were analyzed using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism. Prevalence of the dhfr triple and dhfr plus dhps quadruple mutations showed significant increase in trend from 2003 to 2010 (χ(2) = 18.78, P < 0.001, χ(2) = 15.11, P < 0.001, respectively). For dhps double mutant G437 + E540 the prevalence was low (1.12%) caused by the very low prevalence of E540. Our findings show the wide use of SP in Ghana and therefore its use for IPTp needs to be closely monitored.

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