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Wide distribution of Plasmodium ovale in Myanmar

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The presence of Plasmodium ovale has never been previously reported in Myanmar. Using blood samples obtained in many villages across the country between 1996 and 2000, molecular diagnosis of Plasmodium species was made with semi- or full-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with species-specific primers, followed by agarose gel electrophoresis to detect amplification products. The presence of P. ovale was also confirmed with the another PCR-based diagnosis, the microtiterplate hybridization (MPH) method using species-specific probes. Both methods target the A type of the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene of the four human malaria parasites. Plasmodium ovale DNA was amplified in samples from 65 (4.9%) of 1323 PCR-positive patients, with perfect agreement between results obtained by nested PCR and MPH. Only four P. ovale-infected patients had single-species infection; all others were coinfected with P. falciparum, P. vivax and/or P. malariae. Quadruple infections were observed in six subjects. Parasites with typical P. ovale morphology were found in only 19 patients by conventional microscopy of Giemsa-stained thin smears or fluorescence microscopy of acridine orange-stained thin smears. Plasmodium ovale infections were found in villages situated in the southern, central and western regions of Myanmar, suggesting that P. ovale may be widely distributed in this country.
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Keywords: Myanmar; PCR diagnosis; Plasmodium ovale; field survey; malaria

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of International Health, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan, 2: Vector Borne Diseases Control Project, Department of Health, Yangon, Myanmar, 3: Tropical Disease Center, Faculty of Medicine, Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia, 4: JICA-Mahidol University ACIPC Project, Bangkok, Thailand, 5: Department of Medical Zoology, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi, Japan

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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