Plasmodium falciparum population in the unstable malaria area of eastern Sudan is stable and genetically complex .

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Research type: Research Paper

Authors: Babiker, H.A. .

Abstract: Surveys carried out between 1989 and 1995 are reviewed, to examine Plasmodium falciparum population structure in Asar village in eastern Sudan, an area of unstable malaria, the incidence of which is confined to a few weeks following the short rainy season (June-October). The first phase of the study involved regular cross sectional surveys, between 1989 and 1993 during the seasons of malaria incidence, and the second stage involved surveys during the malaria-free months of the dry seasons. The parasites were examined for 20 polymorphic loci, including enzyme electrophoretic variants, proteins detected by 2 dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, antigens detected by monoclonal antibodies, and in vitro responses to antimalarial drugs. In addition, alleles of the polymorphic genes for merozoite surface proteins 1 and 2 (MSP-1, MSP-2) were examined using the polymerase chain reaction and oligonucleotide probes. Great genetic complexity was observed among the parasites which appeared during the short transmission seasons. A large proportion of the patients who were infected during the transmission season maintained asymptomatic, subpatent parasitaemias throughout the subsequent dry season, often as genetically complex infections.