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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.87  suppl.3 Rio de Janeiro  1992 

Simian malaria in Brazil

Leonidas M. Deane1 

Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Departamento de Entomologia, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil


In Brazil simian malaria is widely spread, being frequent in the Amazon region (10% of primates infected) and even more in the forested coastal mountains of the Southeastern and Southern regions (35% and 18% infected, respectively), but absent in the semi-arid Northeast. Only two species of plasmoidia have been found: the quartan-like Plasmodium brasilianum and the tertian-like P. simium, but the possible presence of other species is not excluded. P. brasilianum is found in all enzootic foci, but P. simium was detected only on the coast of the Southeastern and Southern regions, between parallels 20-S and 30-S. Nearly all hosts are monkeys (family Cebidae, 28 species harbouring plasmodia out of 46 examined) and very rarely marmosets or tamarins (family Callitrichidae, I especies out of 16). P. brasilianum was present in all infected species, P. simium in only two. The natural vector in the Southeastern and Southern regions was found to be Anopheles cruzi, but has not been conclusively identified in the Amazon. One natural, accidental human infection due to P. simium was observed. There is no evidence of the relation of the simian to human malaria in the Southeastern and Southern regions, where human malaria was eradicated in spite of the high rates of monkeys infected, but in the Amazon recent serological studies by other workers, revealing high positivity for P. brasilianum/P. malariae antibodies in local indians, would suggest that among them malaria might be regarded as a zoonosis.


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