Background: The evaluation of malaria transmission intensity is a crucial indicator for estimating the burden of malarial disease. In this respect, entomological and parasitological methods present limitations, especially in low transmission areas. The present study used a sensitive multiplex assay to assess the exposure to Plasmodium falciparum infection in children living in an area of low endemicity. In three Senegalese villages, specific antibody (IgG) responses to 13 pre-erythrocytic P. falciparum peptides derived from Lsa1, Lsa3, Glurp, Salsa, Trap, Starp, Csp and Pf11.1 proteins were simultaneously evaluated before (June), at the peak (September) and after (December) the period of malaria transmission, in children aged from 1 to 8 years.
Results: Compared to other antigens, a high percentage of seropositivity and specific antibody levels were detected with Glurp, Salsa1, Lsa3NR2, and Lsa1J antigens. The seropositivity increased with age for all tested antigens. Specific IgG levels to Glurp, Salsa1, Lsa3NR2, and Lsa1J were significantly higher in P. falciparum infected children compared to non-infected and this increase is significantly correlated with parasite density.
Conclusion: The multiplex assay represents a useful technology for a serological assessment of rapid variations in malaria transmission intensity, especially in a context of low parasite rates. The use of such combined serological markers (i.e. Glurp, Lsa1, Lsa3, and Salsa) could offer the opportunity to examine these variations over time, and to evaluate the efficacy of integrated malaria control strategies.