Volume 70, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Parasite genotyping by a polymerase chain reaction was used to distinguish recrudescent from newly acquired infections in 50 of 160 Nigerian children taking part in a chloroquine efficacy study in Ibadan, Nigeria. A finger prick blood sample was taken from each child before and after treatment to identify recrudescent parasites. By investigating allelic variation in three polymorphic antigen loci, merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1), MSP-2, and glutamate-rich protein (GLURP), we determined parasite diversity in the population and in the infected host. DNA from pretreatment and post-treatment samples from 47 of the 50 patients who failed therapy was successfully amplified by the PCR. The MSP-1, MSP-2, and GLURP genotypes in all samples showed extensive diversity, indicating polyclonal infections. The average number of clones per infection in pre-treatment sample was 2.5 with MSP-1, 4.9 with MSP-2, and 2 with GLURP. The extent of multiplicity decreased significantly ( = 0.016) in post-treatment samples. Multiplicity of infection and initial parasite density were not age dependent. Comparison of the variant alleles in pretreatment and post-treatment samples of each patient indicates that 26 of the 47 children had genuinely recrudescent disease. Conversely, post-treatment samples from five children showed completely new genotypes, indicating either a previously sequestered population of parasites or a newly acquired infection. Overall, this study has shown the diversity and complexity of population in Ibadan, Nigeria. The study has also shown the dynamics of infections in this population before and after chloroquine treatment in an area of high malaria transmission.


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  • Received : 02 Apr 2003
  • Accepted : 01 Oct 2003

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