Molecular epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria among Duffy-positive and Duffy-negative populations in Ethiopia.
Lo E., Yewhalaw D., Zhong D., Zemene E., Degefa T., Tushune K., Ha M., Lee M-C., James AA., Yan G.
BACKGROUND: Malaria is the most prevalent communicable disease in Ethiopia, with 75% of the country's landmass classified as endemic for malaria. Accurate information on the distribution and clinical prevalence of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria in endemic areas, as well as in Duffy-negative populations, is essential to develop integrated control strategies. METHODS: A total of 390 and 416 community and clinical samples, respectively, representing different localities and age groups across Ethiopia were examined. Malaria prevalence was estimated using nested PCR of the 18S rRNA region. Parasite gene copy number was measured by quantitative real-time PCR and compared between symptomatic and asymptomatic samples, as well as between children/adolescents and adults from the local community. An approximately 500-bp segment of the human DARC gene was amplified and sequenced to identify Duffy genotype at the -33rd nucleotide position for all the clinical and community samples. RESULTS: Plasmodium vivax prevalence was higher in the south while P. falciparum was higher in the north. The prevalence of P. vivax and P. falciparum malaria is the highest in children compared to adolescents and adults. Four P. vivax infections were detected among the Duffy-negative samples. Samples from asymptomatic individuals show a significantly lower parasite gene copy number than those from symptomatic infections for P. vivax and P. falciparum. CONCLUSIONS: Geographical and age differences influence the distribution of P. vivax and P. falciparum malaria in Ethiopia. These findings offer evidence-based guidelines in targeting malaria control efforts in the country.