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Open Access Open Badges Case report

Plasmodium ovale infection in Malaysia: first imported case

Yvonne AL Lim1*, Rohela Mahmud1, Ching Hoong Chew2, Thiruventhiran T3 and Kek Heng Chua2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 Sunway Medical Centre Berhad, No. 5, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

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Malaria Journal 2010, 9:272  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-272

Published: 8 October 2010



Plasmodium ovale infection is rarely reported in Malaysia. This is the first imported case of P. ovale infection in Malaysia which was initially misdiagnosed as Plasmodium vivax.


Peripheral blood sample was first examined by Giemsa-stained microscopy examination and further confirmed using a patented in-house multiplex PCR followed by sequencing.

Results and Discussion

Initial results from peripheral blood smear examination diagnosed P. vivax infection. However further analysis using a patented in-house multiplex PCR followed by sequencing confirmed the presence of P. ovale. Given that Anopheles maculatus and Anopheles dirus, vectors of P. ovale are found in Malaysia, this finding has significant implication on Malaysia's public health sector.


The current finding should serve as an alert to epidemiologists, clinicians and laboratory technicians in the possibility of finding P. ovale in Malaysia. P. ovale should be considered in the differential diagnosis of imported malaria cases in Malaysia due to the exponential increase in the number of visitors from P. ovale endemic regions and the long latent period of P. ovale. It is also timely that conventional diagnosis of malaria via microscopy should be coupled with more advanced molecular tools for effective diagnosis.