10. Effect of insecticide-treated bed nets on the dynamics of multiple Plasmodium falciparum infections

Smith, T. ; Felger, I. ; Fraser-Hurt, N. ; Beck, H.-P

In: Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 1999, vol. 93, no. Supplement_1, p. 53-57

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    The rates of acquisition and loss of individual genotypes belonging to the FC27 family of the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 2 (msp2) gene were studied in 120 children aged 5 months to 2·5 years, in a randomized controlled trial of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) in Kiberege village, Tanzania. Analysis of longitudinal changes in positivity for individual alleles in samples collected at intervals of one month indicated that the average duration of infections, allowing for undetected parasite genotypes, was 73 d in those aged <18 months and 160 d in children aged ≥18 months, consistent with a shift from acute to chronic infection with age. Overall, 51% of genotypes infecting the host were estimated to be detected by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis in any one sample of 0·5 μL of packed peripheral blood cells. In children less than 18 months old this sensitivity was 61% (SE = 6%) compared with 41% (SE = 6%) in older children. Conversely, the rate of appearance of new parasite genotypes was higher in children <18 months of age than in older children, but this partly reflected the difference in sensitivity. The overall incidence of new infections was estimated to be reduced by 17% in ITN users. There was no statistically significant difference between users and non-users in observed infection multiplicity, sensitivity, recovery rate, or estimated infection rates for individual alleles. This suggests that, in areas of high P. falciparum endemicity, ITNs have little effect on the establishment of chronic malaria infection