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Plasmodium malariae contributes to high levels of malaria transmission in a forest–savannah transition area in Cameroon

Nguiffo-Nguete, Daniel, Nongley Nkemngo, Francis, Ndo, Cyrille, Agbor, Jean-Pierre, Boussougou-Sambe, Stravensky T., Salako Djogbénou, Luc, Ntoumi, Francine, Adegnika, Ayôla A., Borrmann, Steffen and Wondji, Charles ORCID: (2023) 'Plasmodium malariae contributes to high levels of malaria transmission in a forest–savannah transition area in Cameroon'. Parasites & Vectors, Vol 16, Issue 1, e31.

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Background: Malaria control efforts are highly skewed towards Plasmodium falciparum while overlooking other Plasmodium species such as P. malariae. A better understanding of the role of Plasmodium species other than P. falciparum is needed to strengthen malaria elimination initiatives. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the contribution of P. malariae to malaria transmission in Cameroon.

Methods: The study was conducted in the Ngatti Health District, a forest–savannah transition area in the Adamawa Region, Cameroon. A total of 497 individuals aged from 1 to 85 years were diagnosed with malaria in November 2020 using a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and microscopy. Adult mosquitoes were collected between September 2019 and March 2020 by indoor aspiration and identified morphologically and molecularly. The infection status of Plasmodium spp. was also determined by quantitative PCR, and dried blood spots were collected from 156 participants with the aim to detect different Plasmodium species by nested PCR.

Results: The overall Plasmodium prevalence was 50.3%, 51.8% and 64.7%, as detected by microscopy, the RDT and PCR, respectively. Based on the PCR results, P. falciparum was the most prevalent species (43%); followed by co-infections P. falciparum/P. malariae (17%), P. falciparum/P. ovale (1.3%), P. falciparum/P. ovale/P. malariae (1.3%); and then by P. malariae mono-infection (2.5%). The same trend was observed using microscopy, with 35% of participants infected with P. falciparum, 11% co-infected with P. falciparum/P. malariae and 4% infected with P. malariae. The prevalence and parasite density of malaria infection varied significantly with age group (P < 0.05), with the highest prevalence rate observed in children aged 6–10 years (P = 0.0001) while the density of Plasmodium infection increased significantly in children aged < 5 years compared to the other age groups (P = 10−3). Among the 757 Anopheles mosquitoes collected, 737 (97.35%) were An. funestus sensu stricto, 15 (1.9%) were An. gambiae and 5 (0.6%) were An. hancocki. The Plasmodium species recorded at the head/thorax level were P. falciparum and P. malariae, with a sporozoite infection rate of 8.4%; the highest sporozoite infection rate was recorded at Mibellon village (13.6%).

Conclusion: The results of this study reveal the significant contribution of P. malariae, in addition to P. falciparum, to the high malaria transmission rate in this region. These findings highlight the need to deploy initiatives to also tackle this Plasmodium species to eliminate malaria in the region.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > Protozoa > QX 135 Plasmodia
QX Parasitology > QX 20 Research (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2023 09:12
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:12


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