Widespread distribution of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Mauritania on the interface of the Maghreb and West Africa.

Ba, H; Duffy, CW; Ahouidi, AD; Deh, YB; Diallo, MY; Tandia, A; Conway, DJ; (2016) Widespread distribution of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Mauritania on the interface of the Maghreb and West Africa. Malar J, 15 (1). p. 80. ISSN 1475-2875 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-016-1118-8

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Plasmodium vivax is very rarely seen in West Africa, although specific detection methods are not widely applied in the region, and it is now considered to be absent from North Africa. However, this parasite species has recently been reported to account for most malaria cases in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, which is a large country at the interface of sub-Saharan West Africa and the Maghreb region in northwest Africa. To determine the distribution of malaria parasite species throughout Mauritania, malaria cases were sampled in 2012 and 2013 from health facilities in 12 different areas. These sampling sites were located in eight major administrative regions of the country, within different parts of the Sahara and Sahel zones. Blood spots from finger-prick samples of malaria cases were processed to identify parasite DNA by species-specific PCR. Out of 472 malaria cases examined, 163 (34.5 %) had P. vivax alone, 296 (62.7 %) Plasmodium falciparum alone, and 13 (2.8 %) had mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax infection. All cases were negative for Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale. The parasite species distribution showed a broad spectrum, P. vivax being detected at six of the different sites, in five of the country's major administrative regions (Tiris Zemmour, Tagant, Brakna, Assaba, and the capital Nouakchott). Most cases in Nouakchott were due to P. vivax, although proportions vary significantly among different health facilities in the city. In the northern town of Zouérat, all cases were due to P. vivax, whereas almost all cases in the south of the country were due to P. falciparum. All P. vivax cases tested were Duffy blood group positive. It is important that P. vivax is recognized to be a widespread cause of malaria in Mauritania, occurring in diverse regions. This should be noted by the World Health Organization, as it has significant implications for diagnosis, treatment and control of malaria in the northwestern part of Africa.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Pathogen Molecular Biology
Research Centre: Malaria Centre
PubMed ID: 26861780
Web of Science ID: 369569100007
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2531020


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