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PLoS One. 2017 Jan 26;12(1):e0170704. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170704. eCollection 2017.

Molecular Detection of Plasmodium malariae/Plasmodium brasilianum in Non-Human Primates in Captivity in Costa Rica.

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Maestría en Enfermedades Tropicales, Posgrado Regional en Ciencias Veterinarias Tropicales (PCVET), Universidad Nacional (UNA), Campus Benjamín Nuñez, Barreal de Heredia, Costa Rica.
Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria, UNA, Campus Benjamín Núñez, Barreal de Heredia, Costa Rica.


One hundred and fifty-two blood samples of non-human primates of thirteen rescue centers in Costa Rica were analyzed to determine the presence of species of Plasmodium using thick blood smears, semi-nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction (SnM-PCR) for species differentiation, cloning and sequencing for confirmation. Using thick blood smears, two samples were determined to contain the Plasmodium malariae parasite, with SnM-PCR, a total of five (3.3%) samples were positive to P. malariae, cloning and sequencing confirmed both smear samples as P. malariae. One sample amplified a larger and conserved region of 18S rDNA for the genus Plasmodium and sequencing confirmed the results obtained microscopically and through SnM-PCR tests. Sequencing and construction of a phylogenetic tree of this sample revealed that the P. malariae/P. brasilianum parasite (GenBank KU999995) found in a howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) is identical to that recently reported in humans in Costa Rica. The SnM-PCR detected P. malariae/P. brasilianum parasite in different non-human primate species in captivity and in various regions of the southern Atlantic and Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The similarity of the sequences of parasites found in humans and a monkey suggests that monkeys may be acting as reservoirs of P.malariae/P. brasilianum, for which reason it is important, to include them in control and eradication programs.

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