Non-falciparum malaria infections in pregnant women in West Africa.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Non-Plasmodium falciparum malaria infections are found in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa but little is known about their importance in pregnancy. METHODS:Blood samples were collected at first antenatal clinic attendance from 2526 women enrolled in a trial of intermittent screening and treatment of malaria in pregnancy (ISTp) versus intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) conducted in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana and Mali. DNA was extracted from blood spots and tested for P. falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale using a nested PCR test. Risk factors for a non-falciparum malaria infection were investigated and the influence of these infections on the outcome of pregnancy was determined. RESULTS:P. falciparum infection was detected frequently (overall prevalence by PCR: 38.8 %, [95 % CI 37.0, 40.8]), with a prevalence ranging from 10.8 % in The Gambia to 56.1 % in Ghana. Non-falciparum malaria infections were found only rarely (overall prevalence 1.39 % [95 % CI 1.00, 1.92]), ranging from 0.17 % in the Gambia to 3.81 % in Mali. Ten non-falciparum mono-infections and 25 mixed falciparum and non-falciparum infections were found. P. malariae was the most frequent non-falciparum infection identified; P. vivax was detected only in Mali. Only four of the non-falciparum mono-infections were detected by microscopy or rapid diagnostic test. Recruitment during the late rainy season and low socio-economic status were associated with an increased risk of non-falciparum malaria as well as falciparum malaria. The outcome of pregnancy did not differ between women with a non-falciparum malaria infection and those who were not infected with malaria at first ANC attendance. CONCLUSIONS:Non-falciparum infections were infrequent in the populations studied, rarely detected when present as a mono-infection and unlikely to have had an important impact on the outcome of pregnancy in the communities studied due to the small number of women infected with non-falciparum parasites.
Project description:Among the Plasmodium species that infect humans, adverse effects of P. falciparum and P. vivax have been extensively studied and reported with respect to poor outcomes particularly in first time mothers and in pregnant women living in areas with unstable malaria transmission. Although, other non-falciparum malaria infections during pregnancy have sometimes been reported, little is known about the dynamics of these infections during pregnancy.Using a quantitative PCR approach, blood samples collected from Beninese pregnant women during the first antenatal visit (ANV) and at delivery including placental blood were screened for Plasmodium spp. Risk factors associated with Plasmodium spp. infection during pregnancy were assessed as well as the relationships with pregnancy outcomes. P. falciparum was the most prevalent Plasmodium species detected during pregnancy, irrespective either of parity, of age or of season during which the infection occurred. Although no P. vivax infections were detected in this cohort, P. malariae (9.2%) and P. ovale (5.8%) infections were observed in samples collected during the first ANV. These non-falciparum infections were also detected in maternal peripheral blood (1.3% for P. malariae and 1.2% for P. ovale) at delivery. Importantly, higher prevalence of P. malariae (5.5%) was observed in placental than peripheral blood while that of P. ovale was similar (1.8% in placental blood). Among the non-falciparum infected pregnant women with paired peripheral and placental samples, P. malariae infections in the placental blood was significantly higher than in the peripheral blood, suggesting a possible affinity of P. malariae for the placenta. However, no assoctiation of non-falciparum infections and the pregnancy outcomes was observed.Overall this study provided insights into the molecular epidemiology of Plasmodium spp. infection during pregnancy, indicating placental infection by non-falciparum Plasmodium and the lack of association of these infections with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Project description:A reduction in the global burden of malaria over the past two decades has encouraged efforts for regional malaria elimination. Despite the need to target all Plasmodium species, current focus is mainly directed towards Plasmodium falciparum, and to a lesser extent P. vivax. There is a substantial lack of data on both global and local transmission patterns of the neglected malaria parasites P. malariae and P. ovale spp. We used a species-specific real-time PCR assay targeting the Plasmodium 18s rRNA gene to evaluate temporal trends in the prevalence of all human malaria parasites over a 22-year period in a rural village in Tanzania.We tested 2897 blood samples collected in five cross-sectional surveys conducted between 1994 and 2016. Infections with P. falciparum, P. malariae, and P. ovale spp. were detected throughout the study period, while P. vivax was not detected. Between 1994 and 2010, we found a more than 90% reduction in the odds of infection with all detected species. The odds of P. falciparum infection was further reduced in 2016, while the odds of P. malariae and P. ovale spp. infection increased 2- and 6-fold, respectively, compared to 2010. In 2016, non-falciparum species occurred more often as mono-infections. The results demonstrate the persistent transmission of P. ovale spp., and to a lesser extent P. malariae despite a continued decline in P. falciparum transmission. This illustrates that the transmission patterns of the non-falciparum species do not necessarily follow those of P. falciparum, stressing the need for attention towards non-falciparum malaria in Africa. Malaria elimination will require a better understanding of the epidemiology of P. malariae and P. ovale spp. and improved tools for monitoring the transmission of all Plasmodium species, with a particular focus towards identifying asymptomatic carriers of infection and designing appropriate interventions to enhance malaria control.
Project description:BACKGROUND: While Malaysia has had great success in controlling Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, notifications of Plasmodium malariae and the microscopically near-identical Plasmodium knowlesi increased substantially over the past decade. However, whether this represents microscopic misdiagnosis or increased recognition of P. knowlesi has remained uncertain. METHODS: To describe the changing epidemiology of malaria in Sabah, in particular the increasing incidence of P. knowlesi, a retrospective descriptive study was undertaken involving a review of Department of Health malaria notification data from 2012-2013, extending a previous review of these data from 1992-2011. In addition, malaria PCR and microscopy data from the State Public Health Laboratory were reviewed to estimate the accuracy of the microscopy-based notification data. RESULTS: Notifications of P. malariae/P. knowlesi increased from 703 in 2011 to 815 in 2012 and 996 in 2013. Notifications of P. vivax and P. falciparum decreased from 605 and 628, respectively, in 2011, to 297 and 263 in 2013. In 2013, P. malariae/P. knowlesi accounted for 62% of all malaria notifications compared to 35% in 2011. Among 1,082 P. malariae/P. knowlesi blood slides referred for PCR testing during 2011-2013, there were 924 (85%) P. knowlesi mono-infections, 30 (2.8%) P. falciparum, 43 (4.0%) P. vivax, seven (0.6%) P. malariae, six (0.6%) mixed infections, 31 (2.9%) positive only for Plasmodium genus, and 41 (3.8%) Plasmodium-negative. Plasmodium knowlesi mono-infection accounted for 32/156 (21%) and 33/87 (38%) blood slides diagnosed by microscopy as P. falciparum and P. vivax, respectively. Twenty-six malaria deaths were reported during 2010-2013, including 12 with 'P. malariae/P. knowlesi' (all adults), 12 with P. falciparum (seven adults), and two adults with P. vivax. CONCLUSIONS: Notifications of P. malariae/P. knowlesi in Sabah are increasing, with this trend likely reflecting a true increase in incidence of P. knowlesi and presenting a major threat to malaria control and elimination in Malaysia. With the decline of P. falciparum and P. vivax, control programmes need to incorporate measures to protect against P. knowlesi, with further research required to determine effective interventions.
Project description:In malaria-endemic areas, Plasmodium falciparum prevalence is often high in young women because of 1) low use of insecticide-treated nets before their first pregnancy and 2) acquired immunity, meaning infections are asymptomatic and thus untreated. Consequently, a common source of malaria in pregnancy (MiP) may be infected women becoming pregnant, rather than pregnant women becoming infected. In this study, prevalence of infection was determined by microscopy at first antenatal care (ANC) visit in primigravidae and secundigravidae in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, and The Gambia, four countries with strong seasonal variations in transmission. Duration of pregnancy spent in the rainy season and other risk factors for infection were evaluated using multivariable Poisson regression. We found that the overall prevalence of malaria at first ANC was generally high and increased with time spent pregnant during the rainy season: prevalence among those with the longest exposure was 59.7% in Ghana, 56.7% in Burkina Faso, 42.2% in Mali, and 16.8% in Gambia. However, the prevalence was substantial even among women whose entire pregnancy before first ANC had occurred in the dry season: 41.3%, 34.4%, 11.5%, and 7.8%, respectively, in the four countries. In multivariable analysis, risk of infection was also higher among primigravidae, younger women, and those of lower socioeconomic status, independent of seasonality. High prevalence among women without exposure to high transmission during their pregnancy suggests that part of the MiP burden results from long-duration infections, including those acquired preconception. Prevention of malaria before pregnancy is needed to reduce the MiP burden.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Asymptomatic falciparum and non-falciparum malaria infections are major challenges to malaria control interventions, as they remain a source of continual infection in the community. This becomes even more important as the debate moves towards elimination and eradication. This study sought to quantify the burden of Plasmodium malaria infection in seven communities in the Eastern Region of Ghana.<h4>Methods</h4>The cross-sectional study recruited 729 participants aged 85?years old and below from 7 closely linked communities. Finger pricked blood was used to prepare thick and thin blood smears as well as spot filter paper and an histidine rich protein 2 (HRP2) rapid diagnostic test kit (RDT). Genomic DNA was extracted from the filter paper dry blood spot (DBS) and used in PCR to amplify the Plasmodium 18S rRNA gene using species specific PCR.<h4>Results</h4>96.6% of the participants were identified as afebrile, with axillary temperatures below 37.5?°C. PCR identified 66% of the participants to harbor malaria parasites, with 9 P. malariae and 7 P. ovale mono-infections accounting for 2.2% and P. falciparum combined with either 36 P. malariae or 25 P. ovale infections, accounting for 13.3%. Parasite prevalence by microscopy (32%) was similar to the RDT positivity rate (33%). False positive RDT results ranged from 64.6% in children aged between 5 and 9?years to 10% in adults aged 20?years and above. No significant differences were observed in falciparum and non-falciparum parasite carriage at the community level, however young adults aged between 15 and 19?years had the highest prevalence (34.8% (16/46)) of P. falciparum and P. malariae parasite carriage whilst children aged between 5 and 9?years had the highest level (11.4% (14/123)) of P. ovale carriage.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The high rate of misidentification of non-falciparum parasites and the total absence of detection of P. ovale by microscopy suggests that more sensitive malaria diagnostic tools including molecular assays are required to accurately determine the prevalence of carriers of non-falciparum parasites and low density P. falciparum infections, especially during national surveillance exercises. Additionally, malaria control interventions targeting the non-falciparum species P. malariae and P. ovale parasites are needed.
Project description:BACKGROUND: With 75% of the Ethiopian population at risk of malaria, accurate diagnosis is crucial for malaria treatment in endemic areas where Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax co-exist. The present study evaluated the performance of regular microscopy in accurate identification of Plasmodium spp. in febrile patients visiting health facilities in southern Ethiopia. METHODS: A cross-sectional study design was employed to recruit study subjects who were microscopically positive for malaria parasites and attending health facilities in southern Ethiopia between August and December 2011. Of the 1,416 febrile patients attending primary health facilities, 314 febrile patients, whose slides were positive for P. falciparum, P. vivax or mixed infections using microscopy, were re-evaluated for their infection status by PCR. Finger-prick blood samples were used for parasite genomic DNA extraction. Phylogenetic analyses were performed to reconstruct the distribution of different Plasmodium spp. across the three geographical areas. RESULTS: Of the 314 patients with a positive thick blood smear, seven patients (2%) were negative for any of the Plasmodium spp. by nested PCR. Among 180 microscopically diagnosed P. falciparum cases, 111 (61.7%) were confirmed by PCR, 44 (24.4%) were confirmed as P. vivax, 18 (10%) had mixed infections with P. falciparum and P. vivax and two (1.1%) were mixed infections with P. falciparum and P. malariae and five (2.8%) were negative for any of the Plasmodium spp. Of 131 microscopically diagnosed P. vivax cases, 110 (84%) were confirmed as P. vivax, 14 (10.7%) were confirmed as P. falciparum, two (1.5%) were P. malariae, three (2.3%) with mixed infections with P. falciparum and P. vivax and two (1.5%) were negative for any of the Plasmodium spp. Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax mixed infections were observed. Plasmodium malariae was detected as mono and mixed infections in four individuals. CONCLUSION: False positivity, under-reporting of mixed infections and a significant number of species mismatch needs attention and should be improved for appropriate diagnosis. The detection of substantial number of false positive results by molecular methodologies may provide the accurate incidence of circulating Plasmodium species in the geographical region and has important repercussions in understanding malaria epidemiology and subsequent control.
Project description:Expanded malaria control efforts in Sénégal have resulted in increased use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) to identify the primary disease-causing Plasmodium species, Plasmodium falciparum. However, the type of RDT utilized in Sénégal does not detect other malaria-causing species such as Plasmodium ovale spp., Plasmodium malariae, or Plasmodium vivax. Consequently, there is a lack of information about the frequency and types of malaria infections occurring in Sénégal. This study set out to better determine whether species other than P. falciparum were evident among patients evaluated for possible malaria infection in Kédougou, Sénégal.Real-time polymerase chain reaction speciation assays for P. vivax, P. ovale spp., and P. malariae were developed and validated by sequencing and DNA extracted from 475 Plasmodium falciparum-specific HRP2-based RDT collected between 2013 and 2014 from a facility-based sample of symptomatic patients from two health clinics in Kédougou, a hyper-endemic region in southeastern Sénégal, were analysed.Plasmodium malariae (n = 3) and P. ovale wallikeri (n = 2) were observed as co-infections with P. falciparum among patients with positive RDT results (n = 187), including one patient positive for all three species. Among 288 negative RDT samples, samples positive for P. falciparum (n = 24), P. ovale curtisi (n = 3), P. ovale wallikeri (n = 1), and P. malariae (n = 3) were identified, corresponding to a non-falciparum positivity rate of 2.5%.These findings emphasize the limitations of the RDT used for malaria diagnosis and demonstrate that non-P. falciparum malaria infections occur in Sénégal. Current RDT used for routine clinical diagnosis do not necessarily provide an accurate reflection of malaria transmission in Kédougou, Sénégal, and more sensitive and specific methods are required for diagnosis and patient care, as well as surveillance and elimination activities. These findings have implications for other malaria endemic settings where species besides P. falciparum may be transmitted and overlooked by control or elimination activities.
Project description:Six Plasmodium species are known to naturally infect humans. Mixed species infections occur regularly but morphological discrimination by microscopy is difficult and multiplicity of infection (MOI) can only be evaluated by molecular methods. This study investigated the complexity of Plasmodium infections in patients treated for microscopically detected non-falciparum or mixed species malaria in Gabon.Ultra-deep sequencing of nucleus (18S rRNA), mitochondrion, and apicoplast encoded genes was used to evaluate Plasmodium species diversity and MOI in 46 symptomatic Gabonese patients with microscopically diagnosed non-falciparum or mixed species malaria.Deep sequencing revealed a large complexity of confections in patients with uncomplicated malaria, both on species and genotype levels. Mixed infections involved up to four parasite species (Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale curtisi, and P. ovale wallikeri). Multiple genotypes from each species were determined from the asexual 18S rRNA gene. 17 of 46 samples (37%) harboured multiple genotypes of at least one Plasmodium species. The number of genotypes per sample (MOI) was highest in P. malariae (n = 4), followed by P. ovale curtisi (n = 3), P. ovale wallikeri (n = 3), and P. falciparum (n = 2). The highest combined genotype complexity in samples that contained mixed-species infections was seven.Ultra-deep sequencing showed an unexpected breadth of Plasmodium species and within species diversity in clinical samples. MOI of P. ovale curtisi, P. ovale wallikeri and P. malariae infections were higher than anticipated and contribute significantly to the burden of malaria in Gabon.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Malaria diagnosis is largely dependent on the demonstration of parasites in stained blood films by conventional microscopy. Accurate identification of the infecting Plasmodium species relies on detailed examination of parasite morphological characteristics, such as size, shape, pigment granules, besides the size and shape of the parasitized red blood cells and presence of cell inclusions. This work explores misclassifications of four Plasmodium species by conventional microscopy relative to the proficiency of microscopists and morphological characteristics of the parasites on Giemsa-stained blood films.<h4>Case description</h4>Ten-day malaria microscopy remedial courses on parasite detection, species identification and parasite counting were conducted for public health and research laboratory personnel. Proficiency in species identification was assessed at the start (pre) and the end (post) of each course using known blood films of Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium vivax infections with densities ranging from 1,000 to 30,000 parasites/?L. Outcomes were categorized as false negative, positive without speciation, P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, P. vivax and mixed infections.<h4>Discussion and evaluation</h4>Reported findings are based on 1,878 P. falciparum, 483 P. malariae, 581 P. ovale and 438 P. vivax cumulative results collated from 2008 to 2010 remedial courses. Pre-training false negative and positive misclassifications without speciation were significantly lower on P. falciparum infections compared to non-falciparum infections (p < 0.0001). Post-training misclassifications decreased significantly compared to pre- training misclassifications which in turn led to significant improvements in the identification of the four species. However, P. falciparum infections were highly misclassified as mixed infections, P. ovale misclassified as P. vivax and P. vivax similarly misclassified as P. ovale (p < 0.05).<h4>Conclusion</h4>These findings suggest that the misclassification of malaria species could be a common occurrence especially where non-falciparum infections are involved due to lack of requisite skills in microscopic diagnosis and variations in morphological characteristics within and between Plasmodium species. Remedial training might improve reliability of conventional light microscopy with respect to differentiation of Plasmodium infections.
Project description:Compared to expert malaria microscopy, malaria biomarkers such as Plasmodium falciparum histidine rich protein-2 (PfHRP-2), and PCR provide superior analytical sensitivity and specificity for quantifying malaria parasites infections. This study reports on parasite prevalence, sick visits parasite density and species composition by different diagnostic methods during a phase-I malaria vaccine trial.Blood samples for microscopy, PfHRP-2 and Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) ELISAs and real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) were collected during scheduled (n = 298) or sick visits (n = 38) from 30 adults participating in a 112-day vaccine trial. The four methods were used to assess parasite prevalence, as well as parasite density over a 42-day period for patients with clinical episodes.During scheduled visits, qPCR (39.9%, N = 119) and PfHRP-2 ELISA (36.9%, N = 110) detected higher parasite prevalence than pLDH ELISA (16.8%, N = 50) and all methods were more sensitive than microscopy (13.4%, N = 40). All microscopically detected infections contained P. falciparum, as mono-infections (95%) or with P. malariae (5%). By qPCR, 102/119 infections were speciated. P. falciparum predominated either as monoinfections (71.6%), with P. malariae (8.8%), P. ovale (4.9%) or both (3.9%). P. malariae (6.9%) and P. ovale (1.0%) also occurred as co-infections (2.9%). As expected, higher prevalences were detected during sick visits, with prevalences of 65.8% (qPCR), 60.5% (PfHRP-2 ELISA), 21.1% (pLDH ELISA) and 31.6% (microscopy). PfHRP-2 showed biomass build-up that climaxed (1813±3410 ng/mL SD) at clinical episodes.PfHRP-2 ELISA and qPCR may be needed for accurately quantifying the malaria parasite burden. In addition, qPCR improves parasite speciation, whilst PfHRP-2 ELISA is a potential predictor for clinical disease caused by P. falciparum.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00666380.