Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum and Non- falciparum Infections by Photo-Induced Electron Transfer-PCR in a Longitudinal Cohort of Individuals Enrolled in a Mass Drug Administration Trial in Southern Province, Zambia

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Aug;103(2_Suppl):82-89. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.19-0668.


Malaria burden in Zambia has significantly declined over the last decade because of improved coverage of several key malaria interventions (e.g., vector control, case management, bed net distributions, and enhanced surveillance/responses). Campaign-based mass drug administration (MDA) and focal MDA (fMDA) were assessed in a trial in Southern Province, Zambia, to identify its utility in elimination efforts. As part of the study, a longitudinal cohort was visited and tested (by PCR targeting the 18s rRNA and a Plasmodium falciparum-specific rapid diagnostic test [RDT] from SD Bioline) every month for the trial duration (18 months). Overall, there was high concordance (> 97%) between the PCR and RDT results, using the PCR as the gold standard. The RDTs had high specificity and negative predictive values (98.5% and 98.6%, respectively) but low sensitivity (53.0%) and a low positive predictive value (53.8%). There was evidence for persistent antigenemia affecting the low specificity of the RDT, while false-negative RDTs were associated with a lower parasite density than true positive RDTs. Plasmodium falciparum was the dominant species identified, with 98.3% of all positive samples containing P. falciparum. Of these, 97.5% were mono-infections and 0.8% coinfections with one other species. Plasmodium malariae was found in 1.4% of all positive samples (50% mono-infections and 50% coinfections with P. falciparum), whereas Plasmodium ovale was found in 1.1% of all positive samples (90% mono-infections and 10% coinfections with P. falciparum). Although MDA/fMDA appeared to reduce P. malariae prevalence, P. ovale prevalence appeared unchanged.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / administration & dosage*
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Artemisinins / administration & dosage
  • Artemisinins / therapeutic use
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Malaria / diagnosis
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Malaria, Falciparum / diagnosis
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy
  • Malaria, Falciparum / epidemiology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / prevention & control
  • Mass Drug Administration / methods*
  • Plasmodium falciparum* / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Quinolines / administration & dosage
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Zambia / epidemiology


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Quinolines
  • dihydroartemisinin
  • piperaquine