Malaria in pregnant Cameroonian women: The effect of age and gravidity on submicroscopic and mixed-species infections and multiple parasite genotypes

Department of Biology, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia 20057, USA.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene (Impact Factor: 2.7). 04/2005; 72(3):229-35.
Source: PubMed


Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods were used to investigate malaria in pregnant women residing in Yaounde, Cameroon. Microscopy and species-specific PCR-based diagnosis show that at delivery 82.4% of the women were infected with Plasmodium falciparum (27.5% blood-smear positive and 54.9% submicroscopic infections). The prevalence of P. malariae and P. ovale was 7.6% and 2.5%, respectively, with 9.4% infected with more than one species. Based on genotyping of the merozoite surface protein 1 (msp-1) and msp-2 alleles, the mean number of genetically different P. falciparum parasites in peripheral blood was 3.4 (range = 1-9) and 3.5 (range 1-8) in the placenta. Plasmodium falciparum detected by microscopy and PCR as well as mixed-species infections were significantly higher in women < or = 20 years old and paucigravidae, but maternal anemia was associated only with microscopic detection of parasites. Neither submicroscopic infections nor number of parasite genotypes decreased significantly with age or gravidity. Thus, pregnancy-associated immunity helps reduce malaria to submicroscopic levels, but does not reduce the number of circulating parasite genotypes.


Available from: Georges Snounou, Oct 20, 2014
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    • "This is the first report of the effect of submicroscopic infection throughout pregnancy on maternal and foetal outcomes. Prior studies of submicroscopic malaria during pregnancy have been limited by being cross-sectional, rather than longitudinal in nature [2,3,6,7,12-15]. Linking antenatal infections to specific delivery and neonatal outcomes is essential to evaluating the importance of submicroscopic infections and designing strategies to optimize maternal and infant health. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Malaria during pregnancy results in adverse outcomes for mothers and infants. Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is the primary intervention aimed at reducing malaria infection during pregnancy. Although submicroscopic infection is common during pregnancy and at delivery, its impact throughout pregnancy on the development of placental malaria and adverse pregnancy outcomes has not been clearly established. Methods Quantitative PCR was used to detect submicroscopic infections in pregnant women enrolled in an observational study in Blantyre, Malawi to determine their effect on maternal, foetal and placental outcomes. The ability of SP to treat and prevent submicroscopic infections was also assessed. Results 2,681 samples from 448 women were analysed and 95 submicroscopic infections were detected in 68 women, a rate of 0.6 episodes per person-year of follow-up. Submicroscopic infections were most often detected at enrolment. The majority of women with submicroscopic infections did not have a microscopically detectable infection detected during pregnancy. Submicroscopic infection was associated with placental malaria even after controlling for microscopically detectable infection and was associated with decreased maternal haemoglobin at the time of detection. However, submicroscopic infection was not associated with adverse maternal or foetal outcomes at delivery. One-third of women with evidence of placental malaria did not have documented peripheral infection during pregnancy. SP was moderately effective in treating submicroscopic infections, but did not prevent the development of new submicroscopic infections in the month after administration. Conclusions Submicroscopic malaria infection is common and occurs early in pregnancy. SP-IPT can clear some submicroscopic infections but does not prevent new infections after administration. To effectively control pregnancy-associated malaria, new interventions are required to target women prior to their first antenatal care visit and to effectively treat and prevent all malaria infections.
    Malaria Journal 07/2014; 13(1):274. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-13-274 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    • "Since the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques, attempts have been made to answer these questions. SMM has been associated to anaemia and low weight at birth in several studies with pregnant women [1-3], although these results are still controversial [4,5]. Even though SMM has been associated to cerebral malaria [6], SMM is only occasionally associated with any clinical manifestation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Submicroscopic malaria (SMM) can be defined as low-density infections of Plasmodium that are unlikely to be detected by conventional microscopy. Such submicroscopic infections only occasionally cause acute disease, but they are capable of infecting mosquitoes and contributing to transmission. This entity is frequent in endemic countries; however, little is known about imported SMM. The goals of this study were two-fold: a) to know the frequency of imported SMM, and b) to describe epidemiological, laboratorial and clinical features of imported SMM. A retrospective study based on review of medical records was performed. The study population consisted of patients older than 15 years attended at the Tropical Medicine Unit of Hospital Carlos III, between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2007. Routinely detection techniques for Plasmodium included Field staining and microscopic examination through thick and thin blood smear. A semi-nested multiplex malaria PCR was used to diagnose or to confirm cases with low parasitaemia. SMM was diagnosed in 104 cases, representing 35.5% of all malaria cases. Mean age (IC95%) was 40.38 years (37.41-43.34), and sex distribution was similar. Most cases were in immigrants, but some cases were found in travellers. Equatorial Guinea was the main country where infection was acquired (81.7%). Symptoms were present only in 28.8% of all SMM cases, mainly asthenia (73.3% of symptomatic patients), fever (60%) and arthromialgias (53.3%). The associated laboratory abnormalities were anaemia (27.9%), leukopaenia (15.4%) and thrombopaenia (15.4%). Co-morbidity was described in 75 cases (72.1%). Results from this study suggest that imported SMM should be considered in some patients attended at Tropical Medicine Units. Although it is usually asymptomatic, it may be responsible of fever, or laboratory abnormalities in patients coming from endemic areas. The possibility of transmission in SMM has been previously described in endemic zones, and presence of vector in Europe has also been reported. Implementation of molecular tests in all asymptomatic individuals coming from endemic area is not economically feasible. So re-emergence of malaria (Plasmodium vivax) in Europe may be speculated.
    Malaria Journal 09/2012; 11(1):324. DOI:10.1186/1475-2875-11-324 · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    • "Slides were stained with Diff-Quick and read by two microscopists for parasitemia. PCR was used to identify submicroscopic infections [38], [39]. A woman was considered to have placental malaria if IE were detected in placental blood or impression smears. "
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    ABSTRACT: VAR2CSA mediates sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in the placenta, increasing the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes. Naturally acquired antibodies (Ab) to placental parasites at delivery have been associated with improved pregnancy outcomes, but Ab levels and how early in pregnancy Ab must be present in order to eliminate placental parasites before delivery remains unknown. Antibodies to individual Duffy-binding like domains of VAR2CSA have been studied, but the domains lack many of the conformational epitopes present in full-length VAR2CSA (FV2). Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe the acquisition of Ab to FV2 in women residing in high and low transmission areas and determine how Ab levels during pregnancy correlate with clearance of placental parasites. Plasma samples collected monthly throughout pregnancy from pregnant women living in high and low transmission areas in Cameroon were evaluated for Ab to FV2 and the proportion of high avidity Ab (i.e., Ab that remain bound in the presence of 3M NH(4)SCN) was assessed. Ab levels and proportion of high avidity Ab were compared between women with placental malaria (PM(+)) and those without (PM(-)) at delivery. Results showed that PM(-) women had significantly higher Ab levels (p = 0.0047) and proportion of high avidity Ab (p = 0.0009) than PM(+) women throughout pregnancy. Specifically, women with moderate to high Ab levels (>5,000 MFI) and those with ≥ 35% high avidity Ab at 5-6 months were found to have 2.3 (95% CI, 1.0-4.9) and 7.6-fold (p = 0.0013, 95% CI: 1.2-50.0) reduced risk of placental malaria, respectively. These data show that high levels of Ab to FV2, particularly those with high avidity for FV2, produced by mid-pregnancy are important in clearing parasites from the placenta. Both high Ab levels and proportion of high avidity Ab to FV2 may serve as correlates of protection for assessing immunity against placental malaria.
    PLoS ONE 06/2012; 7(6):e40049. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0040049 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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