Low-density malaria superspreaders

Bousema, Teun zwartwit

People who have low-level malaria infections that are not detected by standard tests may be a source of 20-50% of onward transmissions. A collaborative study by researchers from Imperial College London and Radboud University (Teun Bousema, Medical Microbiology) shows that submicroscopic malaria carriage is highly prevalent in areas of low malaria transmission, in adults, and in people with long-term, chronic malaria infections.

These findings challenge the dogma that individuals with little previous malaria exposure have insufficient immunity to control malaria parasitaemia and highlight a role for molecular screening in malaria elimination strategies.

The study was published this week in Nature Communications.

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