Indigenous Plasmodium ovale malaria in Bangladesh
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In spite of the high prevalence of malaria in Southeastern Bangladesh, there remains a significant shortage of information regarding the presence of three of five human malaria parasites: Plasmodium ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi. The presence of P. ovale and P. knowlesi has previously never been reported from Bangladesh. We used a genus- and species-specific nested polymerase chain reaction, targeting highly conserved regions of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene, to investigate the presence of malaria parasites in a total number of 379 patient samples in a survey of patients with febrile illnesses in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Southeastern Bangladesh. We identified the first cases of P. ovale in Bangladesh. They were confirmed by sequence analysis; 189 of 379 samples (49.9%; 95% confidence interval = 44.9–54.9%) were positive for Plasmodium sp. by PCR. P. falciparum monoinfections accounted for 68.3% (61.3–74.5%), followed by P. vivax (15.3%; 10.9–21.2%), P. malariae (1.6%; 0.5–4.6%), P. ovale (1.6%; 0.5–4.6%), and mixed infections (13.2%; 9.1–18.8%). We found no evidence of P. knowlesi in this region.