Malaria in Sao Tome and Principe: parasite prevalences and vector densities

João Pinto, Carla A. Sousa, Vilfrido Gil, Conceição Ferreira, Luzia Gonçalves, Dinora Lopes, Vincenzo Petrarca, J. Derek Charlwood, Virgílio E. Do Rosário

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51 Citations (Scopus)


A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 16 localities on the island of Sao Tome and three on the island of Principe, at the end of the rainy season of 1997, to determine malaria prevalence and vector densities. Blood samples from 664 inhabitants of all ages were examined by optical microscopy (OM) and PCR. Mosquito collections were made by outdoor landing captures from 21:00-23:00 h. Great differences were found between OM and PCR readings. OM had a sensitivity of 66%, a specificity of 79% and failed to reveal any mixed-infections. Overall prevalence, determined by PCR, was higher in Sao Tome (53%) than in Principe (35%). It was highest in children below 16 years- old. All four human Plasmodium species occurred in Sao Tome but P. ovale was not detected in Principe. The human population was largely asymptomatic. Bednet users had lower prevalence than did non-users. The FOREST form of Anopheles gambiae s.s., identified by PCR and cytogenetics, was the only vector on the islands. The sporozoite rate in Sao Tome, assessed by ELISA, was 0.5%. Parasite prevalence and vector densities were positively correlated in Sao Tome, where malaria transmission must occur predominantly in the more populated coastal areas. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalActa Tropica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2000


  • Anopheles gambiae s.s.
  • Bednets
  • FOREST cytoform
  • Island malaria
  • Prevalence
  • Sao Tome and Principe


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