High Prevalence of Asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum Infection in Gabonese Adults

Matthias P. Dal-Bianco Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Kai B. Köster Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Ulrich D. Kombila Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Jürgen F. J. Kun Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Martin P. Grobusch Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Ghyslain Mombo Ngoma Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Pierre B. Matsiegui Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Christian Supan Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Carmen L. Ospina Salazar Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Michel A. Missinou Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Saadou Issifou Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Bertrand Lell Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Peter Kremsner Medical Research Unit, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Lambaréné, Gabon; Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine University of Tübingen, Germany; Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Plasmodium falciparum, the most common malarial parasite in sub-Saharan Africa, accounts for a high number of deaths in children less than five years of age. In malaria-endemic countries with stable transmission, semi-immunity is usually acquired after childhood. For adults, severe malaria is rare. Infected adults have either uncomplicated malaria or asymptomatic parasitemia. During a period of one year, we screened 497 afebrile males to investigate the prevalence of asymptomatic P. falciparum parasitemia in villages near Lambaréné, Gabon by use of three different methods. A total of 52% of the individuals had parasites detected by a subtelomeric variable open reading frame polymerase chain reaction (stevor-PCR), 27% of the rapid diagnostic test results were positive, and 12% of the thick blood smears with low parasitemias had P. falciparum. Most positive cases were only detected by the stevor-PCR. Asymptomatic P. falciparum parasitemia in adults living in a malaria-endemic country is frequent.

Author Notes

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