Plasmodium ovale Malaria and Molecular Diagnosis: Could it be a Relapse?

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Erdoğan E. , Yürük M. , Sivcan E., Karaca S., Yıldız O. , Sahin I.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.53, pp.106-113, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.5578/mb.67713
  • Title of Journal : MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI
  • Page Numbers: pp.106-113


Malaria caused by Plasmodium species continues to affect the half of the world population. According to the World Health Organization 2017 data, 445.000 cases of malaria and 219 million cases of new clinical malaria cases were reported during the year. African continent is the geographical region where the disease is most frequent. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of imported cases after travels to this continent. In this case report, relaps caused by Plasmodium ovale in a male Republic of Turkey citizen patient who has travelled to Uganda only and no other place a year and half ago was presented. Thin blood smear was prepared from the peripheral blood of the patient who admitted to our hospital with complaints of fever and chills. The smear was stained with Giemsa and examined with a x100 objective microscope and trophozoites belonging to Plasmodium genus were detected. Considering the size and locality of the trophozoites in the erythrocytes, it is thought that the parasite may be Plasmodium vivax. Nested PCR method was used for the species identification. Nested PCR studies were performed using Plasmodium genus and specific primers for P.vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, P.ovale and Plasmodium malariae. Nested PCR products were run on gel and P.ovale was visualized in 787 bp region. P.vivax, P.malariae, P.falciparum, P.ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi species specific primers and probe-based quantitative real-time PCR (qRt-PCR) study revealed that the patient was infected with P.ovale. The patient had no history of chronic illness but had a history of recovered malaria 7-8 years ago. The patient did not have any complaints other than these complaints. CMV IgM and IgG and Brucella aglutinisation tests were negative. It is clear that relapse cases can also be seen when P.ovale species are in hypnozoite stage in the liver. Although there are 18 reported cases of relapse in the last century, these phenomena do not provide sufficient evidence for the theory of relapse. A true relapse is thought to be mild symptoms and even subclinical disease. It is also known that it is difficult to distinguish a true recurrence in cases of relapses that can occur after a long time from primer infection. The best way to overcome this difficulty is to assume being in a malaria endemic area or not between primary infection and recurrence. We think that the applications that are carried out together with the microscope and molecular studies, especially in cases where there is relapses in which low parasitemia or travel story are insufficient, are extremely important both in terms of diagnosis and accurate identification of species and in the selection of treatment.