Survey of in Vivo Sensitivity to Chloroquine by Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax in Lombok, Indonesia

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  • U. S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, Provincial Health Service (Nusa Tenggara Barat), National Institute for Health Research, Jakarta, Indonesia

A malariometric survey was conducted in 14 villages of Sekotong district, in Lombok, Indonesia during October 1994. Point prevalence of malaria ranged from 0% to 15% in the surveyed villages, averaging 6% overall, and Plasmodium falciparum accounted for 63% of the infections. Forty-nine patients with uncomplicated malaria and parasite counts ranging from 40 to 10,800 asexual forms/µl were enrolled in a 28-day in vivo test of chloroquine sensitivity. All subjects received a supervised therapeutic regimen of chloroquine (25 mg base/kg over a 48-hr period) and parasitemia and symptoms were closely monitored for 28 days. Asexual parasites were eliminated within four days in the 29 P. falciparum and 20 P. vivax study patients enrolled. The cumulative incidence of therapeutic failure (recurrent symptomatic parasitemia) among P. falciparum cases at days 7, 14, and 28 was 7%, 10%, and 14% (4 of 29), respectively. However in all four cases, parasitemias recurred against chloroquine blood levels below the minimally effective concentration (MEC) of 200 ng/ml and do not confirm chloroquine resistance. All 20 P. vivax parasitemias were sensitive to chloroquine and the blood remained clear, with the exception of one case in which an asymptomatic parasitemia appeared on day 28. Parasitemias by P. falciparum and P. vivax that were observed before supervised therapy, but in the presence of whole blood chloroquine above normally suppressive MEC levels, suggest resistance to suppressive or prophylactic regimens of chloroquine.

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