Resistance to Antimalarials by Plasmodium falciparum in Arso Pir, Irian Jaya, Indonesia

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  • US Naval Medical Research Unit #2, Jakarta Detachment, Department of Health, Jayapura, Jakarta, Indonesia
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Between 1987 and 1990, susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to chloroquine and to Fansidar® was measured in vivo in 151 volunteers using the standard 7-day test. All volunteers lived in Arso PIR, Irian Jaya. A 25 mg/kg dose of chloroquine base was administered over a three-day period to 92 volunteers positive for P. falciparum rings (> 10 rings/200 white blood cells). Fifty volunteers (54%) showed results consistent with resistance. Twenty-nine were classified RII, and 21 RIII. In November 1989, a single curative dose of Fansidar® was administered to 59 volunteers divided among three groups with 18 months, four years, and life-long exposure to endemic malaria. The proportion of volunteers in each group still positive for P. falciparum on day 7 of followup was 54%, 0%, and 14%, respectively. Thus, immune status profoundly effected clinical response to Fansidar®. Standard in vitro microtests were also performed on parasites from 11 volunteers against chloroquine, amodiaquine, quinine, pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine, and mefloquine. Nine of ten isolates showed in vitro growth consistent with resistance to chloroquine. Tests with other drugs showed few isolates with results considered indicative of susceptibility. Arso PIR has a severe drug resistance problem.