Experimental studies for understanding the relationship between Plasmodium vivax and its vector hosts are difficult, because of to the lack of a long-term, in vitro continuous culture system unavailability of infected blood samples, seasonality of the disease, and the concentration of most cases in remote areas. This study evaluates the duration of the infectivity of P. vivax to Anopheles aquasalis after collecting blood from malaria-infected patients. Blood was collected from patients and stored at 4 °C and 37 °C. Every day, for 4 days, the blood was fed to An. aquasalis adult females, and a Giemsa-stained thick blood smear was mounted to account for sexual (gametocytes) and asexual (trophozoites and schizonts) stages and calculate parasitemia. Oocysts in the midgut of the mosquitoes were counted on the seventh day after feeding. Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the mean number of oocysts (MO) and the parasite density (PD) in each storage condition and post-infection time-points. The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare the number of oocysts for each day between temperatures. The results show that P. vivax stored at 4 °C and at 37 °C has its infectivity to An. aquasalis preserved for 2 days and 3 days, respectively. Infection rate (IR), PD and MO were higher on the day of blood collection and decreased gradually over time. The parasite density (number of parasites/μL) diminished faster at 4 °C than at 37 °C. In this study, a preservation protocol is shown for long-lasting infectivity of P. vivax in a blood sample taken from malaria-infected patients. These results show that infectivity of P. vivax stored at 4 °C and at 37 °C to An. aquasalis persist until 3 days after blood collection, but parasite density, infection rate, and mean of oocysts decreased 24h after blood collection. Since the malaria cases are increasingly far from the urban areas these results indicate that is possible, losing some infectivity, to realize experimental infections several dozen hours after the blood collection. However, it is necessary to improve the procedures for preserving P. vivax gametocytes for mosquito infection in the laboratory.
Keywords: Anopheles aquasalis; Infectivity; Malaria; Membrane Feeding Assay; Plasmodium vivax.
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