Dynamics of P. falciparum gametocytemia in symptomatic patients in an area of intense perennial transmission in Tanzania.

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  • 1 Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Tanzania.

We investigated the dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytemia in symptomatic patients attending a local dispensary in the Kilombero district, Tanzania. Consenting individuals aged one and above, with varying asexual and sexual parasitemias were treated appropriately and asked to return weekly for 28 days. Gametocyte prevalence was highest on Day 7 of follow-up in all age groups (overall 30.5%). Multifactorial analysis showed that young age (chi2 = 18.4; P = 0.004), high asexual parasitemia on presentation (chi2 = 19.4; P = 0.0007) and gametocyte positivity on presentation (chi2 = 29.4; P = 0.001) were all significantly associated with the presence of gametocytes on Days 7 and 14 of follow-up. High presentation of asexual parasitemia alone was positively correlated with higher gametocyte densities on both days of follow-up (F4, 297 = 2.0; P = 0.049). Gametocyte incidence rates decreased significantly with age (chi2 = 7.6, P < 0.005). In summary, in this group of chloroquine-treated individuals, gametocyte prevalence and incidence rates decreased with age, while densities remained relatively constant.

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