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Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 5;9(1):9784. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46194-9.

Characterization of Plasmodium infections among inhabitants of rural areas in Gabon.

Author information

1
Institut für Tropenmedizin, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
2
German Centre for Infection Research, partner site Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.
3
Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Lambaréné, Gabon.
4
Vietnamese - German Center of Excellence in Medical Research, Hanoi, Vietnam.
5
Department of Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine & I. Dep. of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
6
Centre de Recherches Médicales de la Ngounié, Fougamou, Gabon.
7
Institut für Tropenmedizin, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany. jana.held@uni-tuebingen.de.
8
German Centre for Infection Research, partner site Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany. jana.held@uni-tuebingen.de.
9
Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Lambaréné, Gabon. jana.held@uni-tuebingen.de.

Abstract

Plasmodium infections in endemic areas are often asymptomatic, can be caused by different species and contribute significantly to transmission. We performed a cross-sectional study in February/March 2016 including 840 individuals ≥ 1 year living in rural Gabon (Ngounié and Moyen-Ogooué). Plasmodium parasitemia was measured by high-sensitive, real-time quantitative PCR. In a randomly chosen subset of P. falciparum infections, gametocyte carriage and prevalence of chloroquine-resistant genotypes were analysed. 618/834 (74%) individuals were positive for Plasmodium 18S-rRNA gene amplification, of these 553 (66.3%) carried P. falciparum, 193 (23%) P. malariae, 74 (8.9%) P. ovale curtisi and 38 (4.6%) P.ovale wallikeri. Non-falciparum infections mostly presented as mixed infections. P. malariae monoinfected individuals were significantly older (median age: 60 years) than coinfected (20 years) or P. falciparum monoinfected individuals (23 years). P. falciparum gametocyte carriage was confirmed in 109/223 (48.9%) individuals, prevalence of chloroquine-resistant genotypes was high (298/336, 89%), including four infections with a new SVMNK genotype. In rural Gabon, Plasmodium infections with all endemic species are frequent, emphasizing that malaria control efforts shall cover asymptomatic infections also including non-falciparum infections when aiming for eradication.

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