Family analysis of malaria infection in Dienga, Gabon.

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  • 1 Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, Gabon, France.

Fifty children from 9 families were enrolled in a longitudinal study of 8 months to evaluate individual levels of Plasmodium falciparum density in blood during asymptomatic infections. Individual parasite densities were adjusted for age and date of blood intake. The arithmetic means of these adjusted parasite densities (MAPD) were not influenced by sickle cell trait nor by G6PD enzyme activity. On the contrary, family analysis revealed the presence of similar MAPD values according to the sibships. Moreover, sibships frequently infected with P. malariae exhibited the highest P. falciparum MAPDs. The difference in aggressiveness of malaria vectors between the northern and southern halves of the village did not explain the distribution of MAPD, nor did it explain the differences in mean frequency of P. malariae infection among the sibships. We conclude that the familial characteristic of susceptibility to both P. falciparum and P. malariae infections is more likely influenced by the host's genetic background than by differences in the levels of malaria transmission.