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Malaria Research and Treatment
Volume 2016, Article ID 5405802, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/5405802
Research Article

High Prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum Infection in Asymptomatic Individuals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

1Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Unit, Department of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, P.O. Box Kin XI, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
2Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital of Liege, 4000 Liege, Belgium
3Department of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, P.O. Box Kin XI, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
4Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, P.O. Box Kin XI, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
5Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, P.O. Box Kin XI, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
6National Malaria Control Program, P.O. Box Kin XI, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Received 23 September 2015; Revised 20 November 2015; Accepted 29 December 2015

Academic Editor: Sasithon Pukrittayakamee

Copyright © 2016 Dieudonné Makaba Mvumbi 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

Malaria remains a major public health problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 14 million cases reported by the WHO Malaria Report in 2014. Asymptomatic malaria cases are known to be prevalent in endemic areas and are generally untreated, resulting in a significant source of gametocytes that may serve as reservoir of disease transmission. Considering that microscopy certainly underestimates the prevalence of Plasmodium infections within asymptomatic carriers and that PCR assays are currently recognized as the most sensitive methods for Plasmodium identification, this study was conducted to weigh the asymptomatic carriage in DRC by a molecular method. Six provinces were randomly selected for blood collection in which 80 to 100 individuals were included in the study. Five hundred and eighty blood samples were collected and molecular diagnosis was performed. Globally, almost half of the samples collected from asymptomatic individuals (280/580; 48.2%) had Plasmodium infections and the most species identified was P. falciparum alone in combination with P. malariae. The high prevalence reported here should interpellate the bodies involved in malaria control in DR Congo to take into account asymptomatic carriers in actions taken and consider asymptomatic malaria as a major hurdle for malaria elimination.