BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum is the predominant human malaria species in Mozambique and a lead cause of mortality among children and pregnant women nationwide. Sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine (S/P) is used as first line antimalarial treatment as a partner drug in combination with artesunate.
METHODS: A total of 92 P. falciparum-infected blood samples, from children with uncomplicated malaria attending the Centro de Saude de Bagamoyo in the Province of Maputo-Mozambique, were screened for S/P resistance-conferring mutations in the pfdhfr and pfdhps genes using a nested mutation-specific polymerase chain reaction and restriction digestion (PCR-RFLP). The panel of genetic polymorphisms analysed included the pfdhfr 164L mutation, previously reported to be absent or rare in Africa.
RESULTS: The frequency of the S/P resistance-associated pfdhfr triple mutants (51I/59R/108N) and of pfdhfr/pfdhps quintuple mutants (51I/59R/108N + 437G/540E) was 93% and 47%, respectively. However, no pfdhfr 164L mutants were detected.
CONCLUSION: The observation that a considerably high percentage of P. falciparum parasites contained S/P resistance-associated mutations raises concerns about the validity of this drug as first-choice treatment in Mozambique. On the other hand, no pfdhfr 164L mutant was disclosed, corroborating the view that that this allele is still rare in Africa.
- Child, Preschool
- Dihydropteroate Synthase
- Drug Combinations
- Drug Resistance, Multiple
- Malaria, Falciparum
- Plasmodium falciparum
- Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't