Different Genetic Characteristics of Plasmodium falciparum Isolates Collected During Successive Clinical Malaria Episodes in Senegalese Children

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  • Unite d'Immunologie Moleculaire des Parasites, Institut Pasteur, Unite d'Epidemiologie, Institut Pasteur, Laboratoire de Paludologie, Institut Francais de Recherche Scientifique pour le Developpement en Cooperation (ORSTOM), Paris, France

A narrow epidemiologic survey was conducted during a four-month period of intense malaria transmission in Dielmo, a holoendemic Senegalese village. Longitudinal clinical and parasitologic follow-up indicate that clinical malaria episodes always occurred after an abrupt increase in parasite densities. Polymerase chain reaction analysis of Plasmodium falciparum parasites was carried out in blood samples collected longitudinally from 10 children who had experienced several clinical episodes during this period. Our data show that the genetic diversity of the parasites circulating in this village is very large. The successive clinical episodes experienced by each child were caused by genetically distinct parasite populations that were recently inoculated and multiplied in an apparently unrestricted manner. Importantly, the genetic characteristics of the parasite populations detected during phases of asymptomatic carriage differed from those causing a clinical episode, suggesting that the various factors that control of parasite growth in these children are strain-specific.