JOURNAL ARTICLE

High Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum Infection in Asymptomatic Individuals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dieudonné Makaba Mvumbi, Thierry Lengu Bobanga, Pierrette Melin, Patrick De Mol, Jean-Marie Ntumba Kayembe, Hippolyte Nani-Tuma Situakibanza, Georges Lelo Mvumbi, Célestin Ndosimao Nsibu, Solange Efundu Umesumbu, Marie-Pierre Hayette
Malaria Research and Treatment 2016, 2016: 5405802
26942036
Malaria remains a major public health problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 14 million cases reported by the WHO Malaria Report in 2014. Asymptomatic malaria cases are known to be prevalent in endemic areas and are generally untreated, resulting in a significant source of gametocytes that may serve as reservoir of disease transmission. Considering that microscopy certainly underestimates the prevalence of Plasmodium infections within asymptomatic carriers and that PCR assays are currently recognized as the most sensitive methods for Plasmodium identification, this study was conducted to weigh the asymptomatic carriage in DRC by a molecular method. Six provinces were randomly selected for blood collection in which 80 to 100 individuals were included in the study. Five hundred and eighty blood samples were collected and molecular diagnosis was performed. Globally, almost half of the samples collected from asymptomatic individuals (280/580; 48.2%) had Plasmodium infections and the most species identified was P. falciparum alone in combination with P. malariae. The high prevalence reported here should interpellate the bodies involved in malaria control in DR Congo to take into account asymptomatic carriers in actions taken and consider asymptomatic malaria as a major hurdle for malaria elimination.

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