Plasmodium falciparum K76T pfcrt Gene Mutations and Parasite Population Structure, Haiti, 2006-2009

Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 May;22(5):786-93. doi: 10.3201/eid2205.150359.


Hispaniola is the only Caribbean island to which Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains endemic. Resistance to the antimalarial drug chloroquine has rarely been reported in Haiti, which is located on Hispaniola, but the K76T pfcrt (P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter) gene mutation that confers chloroquine resistance has been detected intermittently. We analyzed 901 patient samples collected during 2006-2009 and found 2 samples showed possible mixed parasite infections of genetically chloroquine-resistant and -sensitive parasites. Direct sequencing of the pfcrt resistance locus and single-nucleotide polymorphism barcoding did not definitively identify a resistant population, suggesting that sustained propagation of chloroquine-resistant parasites was not occurring in Haiti during the study period. Comparison of parasites from Haiti with those from Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela reveals a geographically distinct population with highly related parasites. Our findings indicate low genetic diversity in the parasite population and low levels of chloroquine resistance in Haiti, raising the possibility that reported cases may be of exogenous origin.

Keywords: CQR; CQS; Haiti; Hispaniola; Jeremie; K76T pfcrt; Les Cayes; Plasmodium falciparum; chloroquine; gene mutation; haplotype; malaria; parasites; vector-borne infections; vectorborne.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA Barcoding, Taxonomic
  • Geography
  • Haiti / epidemiology
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / epidemiology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / history
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Phylogeography
  • Plasmodium falciparum / classification
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • PfCRT protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Protozoan Proteins