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Infrequency of asymptomatic malaria in an endemic area in Amazonas, Brazil

A malaria survey was conducted in an area of high transmission (Costa Marques, Rondonia, Brazil) to determine the prevalence of asymptomatic parasitemia and its clinical significance. Most of the people surveyed were immigrants who had lived in the endemic area < 5 years. The people had easy access to free diagnostic and treatment services at the Malaria Clinic in the town of Costa Marques. The prevalence of plasmodial parasitemia in 344 people was 22%. There were 36 individuals with asymptomatic infections among the 77 parasitemic patients. During the two days following the initial examination, 19 ofthe 36 individuals: with asymptomatic infections developed malaria. Among the 17 patients who remained asymptomatic for > 2 days, 4 had only gametocytes, 1 had taken inadequate anti-malarial treatment, 3 were under treatment and 2 moved. Six asymptomatic patients denied the use of anti-malarial drugs and they developed malaria 3-6 days after the initial parasitological diagnosis. The final patient remained asymptomatic during the 7 day observation period. He had a history of > 40 malaria attacks and denied the use of antimalarial treatment. With the exception of the latter all of the other asymptomatic patients, were either in the incubation period or had been treated It is concluded that asymptomatic malaria is rare in the Costa Marques area and that it is necessary to treat all individuals with plasmodial parasitemia.

Malaria; Asymptomatic malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium vivax; Brazil

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