Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 614287, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/614287
Research Article

Immunological Testing Reveals Exposure to Malaria in the Hypoendemic Region of Iran

1The Persian Gulf Tropical Medicine Research Center, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran
2Cellabs Pty Ltd, Unit 7, No. 27 Dale Street, Brookvale, NSW 2100, Australia
3Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (NRITLD), Tehran, Iran

Received 24 April 2014; Revised 2 July 2014; Accepted 7 July 2014; Published 9 October 2014

Academic Editor: Paulo A. Nogueira

Copyright © 2014 Narges Obeidi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. South eastern parts of Iran remain endemic for malaria infection. There is some concern that malaria infection may spread into Bushehr, which is located in the south western part bordering the Persian Gulf and at the periphery of the declared endemic region Hormozgan province due to frequency of visitors from eastern endemic areas and from neighboring malaria endemic countries. We investigated malaria prevalence in Bushehr. Methods and Results. Attempts were made to identify malaria active infection in blood smears and malaria specific antibody and antigens in serum samples. Traditional blood smears prepared from 1955 blood specimens yielded no definitive malaria positive case by microscopic technique. A total of 270 (13.8%) serum samples were positive for malaria antibodies. Using specific ELISA kits, presence of histidine rich proteins and lactate dehydrogenase antigens were investigated in serum samples. No histidine rich proteins specific for P. falciparum were detected amongst 270 antibody positive samples. However, six samples representing 0.3% of total population, were found to be positive for plasmodium pan specific lactate dehydrogenase antigens. This suggested the possibility of low level exposure to malaria in Bushehr community. Conclusions. Out of a total of 1955 samples tested, 270 (13.8%) were positive for malaria antibodies and six (0.3%) of these were positive for plasmodium-specific lactate dehydrogenase antigen suggesting a low level exposure to malaria in a hypoendemic region based on immunological testing. Since none of the 270 antibody samples were positive for histidine rich protein antigens, there is scope for further testing of blood samples by molecular methods such as polymerase chain reactions to confirm the plasmodium species and provide information valuable for future investigations. Our testing strategy for hypoemdemic malaria can be used as a template for investing malaria in 32 eliminating countries for testing ongoing transmission. This approach may be useful as a method in epidemiological studies.