Declining Burden of Plasmodium vivax in a Population in Northwestern Thailand from 1995 to 2016 before Comprehensive Primaquine Prescription for Radical Cure

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Jan;102(1):147-150. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0496.


All Plasmodium cases have declined over the last decade in northwestern Thailand along the Myanmar border. During this time, Plasmodium vivax has replaced Plasmodium falciparum as the dominant species. The decline in P. falciparum has been shadowed by a coincidental but delayed decline in P. vivax cases. This may be due to early detection and artemisinin-based therapy, species-specific diagnostics, and bed net usage all of which reduce malaria transmission but not P. vivax relapse. In the absence of widespread primaquine use for radical cure against P. vivax hypnozoites, the decline in P. vivax may be explained by decreased hypnozoite activation of P. vivax relapses triggered by P. falciparum. The observed trends in this region suggest a beneficial effect of decreased P. falciparum transmission on P. vivax incidence, but elimination of P. vivax in a timely manner likely requires radical cure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Vivax / epidemiology*
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Primaquine / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thailand / epidemiology


  • Antimalarials
  • Primaquine