The pathogenesis of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is still obscure, but is believed to be multi-factorial, and among the important factors are intrinsic parasite-properties. Here we investigated the association between clinical manifestation of P. falciparum malaria (an indicator of virulence) and two parasite properties - drug resistance and gametocyte production. Among 996 P. falciparum infections detected in the out-patient clinic of Gedarif Hospital in eastern Sudan, there was no significant association between the incidence of severe versus mild disease and the presence of resistant alleles at the chloroquine-resistance transporter locus (pfcrt-T76) and the multi-drug-resistance locus (pfmdr1-Y86). However, among severe cases, there was a significantly lower prevalence of parasites carrying resistant alleles among patients that died versus survived. There was a trend towards a higher gametocyte rate among severe malaria patients compared with uncomplicated malaria cases. These results are discussed in relation to the fitness of drug resistant parasites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas