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Acta Trop. 2013 Dec;128(3):473-8. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Mutant Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter in Hodeidah, Yemen: association with parasitologic indices and treatment-seeking behaviors.

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1
Department of Parasitology, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt; Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sana'a University, Sana'a, Yemen. Electronic address: rashadqb@yahoo.com.

Abstract

Malaria still represents a major health problem in Yemen, particularly in Hodeidah, despite continuing efforts to eliminate it. With the absence of clinically proven vaccines, chemotherapy with antimalarials is still greatly needed. Chloroquine (CQ) has been popular as the drug of choice for malaria control. However, Plasmodium falciparum resistance to CQ has been one of the main obstacles in malaria control and elimination. Although CQ is no longer the recommended antimalarial chemotherapy, it has remained the number one over-the-counter antimalarial drug in many endemic areas, including Yemen, and is still used for self-medication. In addition, promising reports on CQ efficacy reversal in many African countries brought it again into the scene. This has led to a growing interest in the possibility of its re-introduction, particularly with the concerns raised about the parasite resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies. Therefore, the present study aimed at analyzing the CQ-associated pfcrt 76T mutation in P. falciparum isolates from patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Hodeidah, west of Yemen. The association of treatment-seeking behaviors and antimalarial drug use with the pfcrt 76T mutant allele was also studied. It was revealed that there is still a sustained high frequency of this molecular marker among parasite isolates associated with younger age, decreased parasite density and the presence of gametocytes in blood. Delay in seeking treatment and frequent use of antimalarials were the behaviors significantly associated with the presence of the pfcrt 76T mutant allele among patients reporting a history of malaria treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Chloroquine; Drug resistance; Hodeidah; Plasmodium falciparum; Treatment-seeking behavior; pfcrt

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