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Malaria Journal

Open Access

Plasmodium ovale sp. and Plasmodium malariae in Africa: difficult items of business on the malaria eradication agenda

  • Colin J Sutherland1, 2, 3,
  • Mary C Oguike2,
  • Valerie Smith1,
  • Martha Betson4,
  • Teun Bousema2 and
  • Peter L Chiodini1, 3
Malaria Journal20109(Suppl 2):I10

Published: 20 October 2010


MalariaPlasmodiumMalaria CaseParasite SpeciesPublic Health Implication

The elimination of malaria in Africa is sensibly focused on the challenge of P. falciparum. However the parasite species P. ovale curtisi, P. ovale wallikeri and P. malariae occur across the continent at population prevalences ranging from negligible, up to ~9% for P. ovale sp. and up to ~15% for P. malariae. All three species are able to recur in the successfully treated patient months or years after exposure, even if successful clearance of blood-stage infections has occurred through antimalarial therapy. We present some recent data from surveys in several African localities as well as analyses of Malaria Reference Laboratory data for patterns of presentation of these parasite species among imported malaria cases in the UK, and consider the possibility that a substantial hidden burden of infection exists. The public health implications and challenges posed by these malaria species to malaria eradication programmes will also be considered.

Authors’ Affiliations

HPA Malaria Reference Laboratory, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, UK
Dept of Immunology & Infection, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, UK
Dept of Clinical Parasitology, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London, UK
Dept of Zoology, Natural History Museum, London, UK


© Sutherland et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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