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We compared malaria indicators among sympatric groups to study human heterogeneities in the response to Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection. Four cross-sectional surveys and two longitudinal surveys in two sympatric ethnic groups (Dogon and Fulani) in Mali were carried out from 1998 to 2000. Spleen and parasite rates were evaluated during the cross-sectional surveys and disease incidence was assessed during longitudinal surveys. In spite of similar sociocultural factors and entomologic inoculation rates between ethnic groups, the Fulani had a significantly higher spleen enlargement rate, lower parasite rate, and were less affected by the disease than the Dogon group, whose frequency of hemoglobin C was higher than that recorded among the Fulani group. The Fulani group had significantly higher levels of IgG and IgE against crude malaria antigen than the Dogon group, suggesting a role of anti-malaria antibodies in the immune protection seen in this group.