4 years ago

Substantial population structure of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> in Thailand facilitates identification of the sources of residual transmission

Liwang Cui, Cristian Koepfli, Jetsumon Sattabongkot, Veerayuth Kittichai, Wang Nguitragool

Plasmodium vivax transmission in Thailand has been substantially reduced over the past 10 years, yet it remains highly endemic along international borders. Understanding the genetic relationship of residual parasite populations can help track the origins of the parasites that are reintroduced into malaria-free regions within the country.


A total of 127 P. vivax isolates were genotyped from two western provinces (Tak and Kanchanaburi) and one eastern province (Ubon Ratchathani) of Thailand using 10 microsatellite markers. Genetic diversity was high, but recent clonal expansion was detected in all three provinces. Substantial population structure and genetic differentiation of parasites among provinces suggest limited gene flow among these sites. There was no haplotype sharing among the three sites, and a reduced panel of four microsatellite markers was sufficient to assign the parasites to their provincial origins.


Significant parasite genetic differentiation between provinces shows successful interruption of parasite spread within Thailand, but high diversity along international borders implies a substantial parasite population size in these regions. The provincial origin of P. vivax cases can be reliably determined by genotyping four microsatellite markers, which should be useful for monitoring parasite reintroduction after malaria elimination.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005930

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