We present the first parasitological, molecular and longitudinal analysis of an isolated outbreak of malaria. This outbreak occurred on Santiago Island (Republic of Cabo Verde), a region where malaria is hypoendemic and controlled, and thus the population is considered non-immune. Blood samples were collected from the inhabitants over 1 month and during cross-sectional surveys in the following year. The presence and nature of the parasites was determined by PCR. Plasmodium falciparum was the only species detected. Generic analysis revealed that the circulating parasites were genetically homogeneous, and probably clonal. Gametocytes were found throughout this period. Our data suggest that this represented a focal outbreak, resulting in the infection of at least 40% of the villagers with a clonal parasite line. Thus, P. falciparum infections can persist for at least 1 year in a substantial proportion (10%) of the hosts. Implications for malaria control and the interpretation of epidemiological data are discussed.
- Plasmodium falciparum
- Republic of Cabo Verde