Volume 72, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–based methods were used to investigate malaria in pregnant women residing in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Microscopy and species-specific PCR-based diagnosis show that at delivery 82.4% of the women were infected with (27.5% blood-smear positive and 54.9% submicroscopic infections). The prevalence of and was 7.6% and 2.5%, respectively, with 9.4% infected with more than one species. Based on genotyping of the merozoite surface protein 1 () and alleles, the mean number of genetically different parasites in peripheral blood was 3.4 (range = 1–9) and 3.5 (range 1–8) in the placenta. detected by microscopy and PCR as well as mixed-species infections were significantly higher in women ≤ 20 years old and paucigravidae, but maternal anemia was associated only with microscopic detection of parasites. Neither submicroscopic infections nor number of parasite genotypes decreased significantly with age or gravidity. Thus, pregnancy-associated immunity helps reduce malaria to submicroscopic levels, but does not reduce the number of circulating parasite genotypes.


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  • Received : 17 Apr 2004
  • Accepted : 11 Aug 2004

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