The Plasmodium falciparum population in Asar village, eastern Sudan, where malaria transmission is markedly seasonal, was monitored monthly over a period of 15 months. A cohort of infected patients was treated and then followed monthly throughout the dry season until the next transmission season. Parasitaemia detected by microscopy among the cohort reduced dramatically following treatment, but remained sporadic during the dry season, and reappeared following the onset of the next wet season. However between 40 and 50% of the cohort retained a persisting parasitaemia detectable by PCR throughout the dry season. These parasites were genetically complex, consisting of multiple clones with a large repertoire of alleles of the studied genes. While the number of clones per host dropped significantly following treatment of acute cases during the transmission season, drug treated people nevertheless maintained an average of one clone throughout the dry season. Allele frequencies of MSP-1, MSP-2 and GLURP showed slight, statistically insignificant, fluctuations between the dry and wet seasons. A higher frequency of inbreeding was estimated among the parasites that survived the dry season compared to the wet season.
- Plasmodium falciparum
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