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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2001 Jan-Feb;95(1):81-4.

Premunition against Plasmodium falciparum in a malaria hyperendemic village in Myanmar.

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Institus Pasteur, Paris, France.


Premunition, naturally acquired protective immunity against Plasmodium falciparum, has been described in hyperendemic areas of Africa and Papua New Guinea. However, its occurrence in Asia is debatable. In order to elucidate this question, a longitudinal study was undertaken in Oo-Do, a malaria endemic village in Myanmar [Burma] in 1995-97. Only 2 species, Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, were detected, with the former predominating. Data from 116 subjects showed that all were infected at one time or another, over a period of 3 years, with a 38% reinfection rate after eradication of patent parasitaemia. The high rate of prevalence (90-100%) of parasite-specific antibodies in the indirect immunofluorescence antibody test and the presence of the primary vector (Anopheles minimus) and 15 other species of Anopheles throughout the year indicated a high level of transmission. The spleen rate was 70% in 5-9 years old children and was inversely related with age. The incidence of parasitaemia was maximal (49%) in children aged 2-4 years, and then declined marginally with age. There was a significant difference (P = 0.001) between the asymptomatic and febrile parasitaemia levels. Also, malarial episodes occurred more frequently in children than in adults (P = 0.001). Taken together, all these facts indicated that the inhabitants of Oo-Do had progressively developed non-sterile partial protective immunity against P. falciparum malaria, or premunition. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed clinico-epidemiological study to document the occurrence of premunition in Myanmar.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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