Published: September 1, 2017
Hofmann NE, Karl S, Wampfler R, Kiniboro B, Teliki A, Iga J, Waltmann A, Betuela I, Felger I,Mueller I*, Robinson, LJ*. The complex relationship of exposure to new Plasmodium infections and clinical incidence in PNG. eLife, 2017. 6: e23708. doi: 10.7554/eLife.23708.
The molecular force of blood-stage infection (molFOB) is a quantitative surrogate metric for malaria transmission at population level and for exposure at individual level. Relationships between molFOB, parasite prevalence and clinical incidence were assessed in a treatment-to-reinfection cohort, where P.vivax (Pv) hypnozoites were eliminated in half the children by primaquine (PQ). Discounting relapses, children acquired equal numbers of new P. falciparum (Pf) and Pv blood-stage infections/year (Pf-molFOB = 0–18, Pv-molFOB = 0–23) resulting in comparable spatial and temporal patterns in incidence and prevalence of infections. Including relapses, Pv-molFOB increased >3 fold (relative to PQ-treated children) showing greater heterogeneity at individual (Pv-molFOB = 0–36) and village levels. Pf- and Pv-molFOB were strongly associated with clinical episode risk. Yearly Pf clinical incidence rate (IR = 0.28) was higher than for Pv (IR = 0.12) despite lower Pf-molFOB. These relationships betweenmolFOB, clinical incidence and parasite prevalence reveal a comparable decline in Pf and Pv transmission that is normally hidden by the high burden of Pv relapses.