Characterization of Plasmodium infections among inhabitants of rural areas in Gabon

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gabon / epidemiology
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasmodium / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population*
  • Young Adult