Molecular evidence of high rates of asymptomatic P. vivax infection and very low P. falciparum malaria in Botswana Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Botswana is one of eight SADC countries targeting malaria elimination by 2018. Through spirited upscaling of control activities and passive surveillance, significant reductions in case incidence of Plasmodium falciparum (0.96 - 0.01) was achieved between 2008 and 2012. As part of the elimination campaign, active detection of asymptomatic Plasmodium species by a highly sensitive method was deemed necessary. This study was carried out to determine asymptomatic Plasmodium species carriage by nested PCR in the country, in 2012. METHOD: A cross-sectional study involving 3924 apparently healthy participants were screened for Plasmodium species in 14 districts (5 endemic: Okavango, Ngami, Tutume, Boteti and Bobirwa; and 9 epidemic: North East, Francistown, Serowe-Palapye, Ghanzi, Kweneng West, Kweneng East, Kgatleng, South East, and Good Hope). Venous blood was taken from each participant for a nested PCR detection of Plasmodium species. RESULTS: The parasite rates of asymptomatic Plasmodium species detected were as follows: Plasmodium falciparum, 0.16 %; Plasmodium vivax, 4.66 %; Plasmodium malariae, (Pm) 0.16 %; Plasmodium ovale, 0 %, mixed infections (P. falciparum and P. vivax), 0.055 %; and (P. vivax and P. malariae), 0.027 %, (total: 5.062 %). The high proportion of asymptomatic reservoir of P. vivax was clustered in the East, South Eastern and Central districts of the country. There appeared to be a correlation between the occurrence of P. malariae infection with P. vivax infection, with the former only occurring in districts that had substantial P. vivax circulation. The median age among 2-12 year olds for P. vivax infection was 5 years (Mean 5.13 years, interquartile range 3-7 years). The odds of being infected with P. vivax decreased by 7 % for each year increase in age (OR 0.93, 95 % CI 0.87-1.00, p = 0.056). CONCLUSION: We have confirmed low parasite rate of asymptomatic Plasmodium species in Botswana, with the exception of P.vivax which was unexpectedly high. This has implication for the elimination campaign so a follow up study is warranted to inform decisions on new strategies that take this evidence into account in the elimination campaign.


  • Motshoge, Thato
  • Ababio, Grace K
  • Aleksenko, Larysa
  • Read, John
  • Peloewetse, Elias
  • Loeto, Mazhani
  • Mosweunyane, Tjantilili
  • Moakofhi, Kentse
  • Ntebele, Davies S
  • Chihanga, Simon
  • Motlaleng, Mpho
  • Chinorumba, Anderson
  • Vurayai, Moses
  • Pernica, Jeffrey
  • Paganotti, Giacomo M
  • Quaye, Isaac K

publication date

  • December 2016

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