The Duffy Blood Group and Resistance to Plasmodium Vivax in Honduras

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  • Central America Research Station, Bureau of Tropical Diseases, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Blood Bank, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, National Malaria Program (SNEM), San Salvador, C.A., Honduras
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To test the hypothesis that the Duffy blood group negative genotype is a factor in resistance to Plasmodium vivax, we determined the Duffy blood group, the malaria antibodies, and the slide-demonstrated infection rates with P. vivax and P. falciparum of 420 persons living in Nueva Armenia, Honduras. In all, 247 persons were Duffy negative. Demonstrated infections with P. falciparum were almost equally distributed between Duffy-positive (5.8%) and Duffy-negative (4.9%) persons. Similarly, Duffy-positive (25.6%) and Duffy-negative (28.2%) persons had equal proportions of indirect fluorescent antibody test titers suggestive of past or present P. falciparum infection. In contrast, all 14 P. vivax infections were found in Duffy-positive persons. There was no evidence suggesting that Duffy-positive and Duffy-negative persons had different exposures to malaria. The Duffy negative genotype FyFy appears to be a factor in resistance to P. vivax.