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Submicroscopic Falciparum Malaria in Febrile Individuals in Urban and Rural Areas of Gabon

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  • 1 Department of Parasitology-Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Université des Sciences de la Santé, Libreville, Gabon.
  • 2 Malaria Clinical and Operational Research Unit, Libreville, Gabon.
  • 3 Diseases of the Developing World, GlaxoSmithKline, Madrid, Spain.

Characterization of the parasite reservoir is required to improve malaria control. Asymptomatic patients with subpatent parasitemia have been identified in Gabon, but the prevalence of such infections among febrile subjects is unclear. We assessed the prevalence of submicroscopic Plasmodium falciparum infections on an island (Port-Gentil), and in urban (Libreville), semiurban (Melen), and rural (Oyem) settings in Gabon. Blood samples (N = 310) from febrile patients were tested for malaria parasites by quantitative nucleic acid sequence–based amplification (QT-NASBA). Parasites were detected in 55.8% (173/310) of samples by microscopy and in 66.4% (206/310) of samples by 18S rRNA QT-NASBA. The proportion of submicroscopic infections differed considerably between sites. Gametocytes were found in 1% (3/310) of the individuals by microscopy and in 32% (99/310) by Pfs25 mRNA QT-NASBA. Thus, submicroscopic parasitemia is frequent in febrile patients, and the detection of this condition is important, to improve disease control.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Denise P. Mawili-Mboumba, Department of Parasitology-Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Université des Sciences de la Santé, BP 4009, Libreville, Gabon. E-mail: dpmawili@gmail.com

Authors' addresses: Denise P. Mawili-Mboumba, Christelle Offouga Mbouoronde, and Marielle K. Bouyou Akotet, Department of Parasitology-Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Université des Sciences de la Santé, Libreville, Gabon, and Malaria Clinical Research and Operational Unit, Centre Hospitalier de Libreville, Libreville, Gabon, E-mails: dpmawili@gmail.com, offougachristi@yahoo.fr, and mariellebouyou@gmail.com. Rosalie Nikiéma Ndong Ella, Aude Lembet-Mikolo, Prycil Nzamba, and Maryvonne Kombila, Department of Parasitology-Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Université des Sciences de la Santé, Libreville, Gabon, E-mails: rosalienikiema@yahoo.fr, ttanguy01@yahoo.fr, kennygeordy@yahoo.fr, and valentine_favry@yahoo.fr. Noemi Bahamontes Rosa and Jose Luis Llergo Largo, Diseases of the Developing World, GlaxoSmithKline, Madrid, Spain, E-mails: noemi.r.bahamontes-rosa@gsk.com and jose.l.llergo@gsk.com.

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