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This article is part of the supplement: Parasite to Prevention: Advances in the understanding of malaria

Open Access Open Badges Invited speaker presentation

Plasmodium ovale sp. and Plasmodium malariae in Africa: difficult items of business on the malaria eradication agenda

Colin J Sutherland123*, Mary C Oguike2, Valerie Smith1, Martha Betson4, Teun Bousema2 and Peter L Chiodini13

  • * Corresponding author: Colin J Sutherland

Author Affiliations

1 HPA Malaria Reference Laboratory, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London WC1E7HT, UK

2 Dept of Immunology & Infection, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London WC1E 7HT, UK

3 Dept of Clinical Parasitology, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London WC1E 6JB, UK

4 Dept of Zoology, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK

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Malaria Journal 2010, 9(Suppl 2):I10  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-S2-I10

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:20 October 2010

© 2010 Sutherland et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Invited speaker presentation

The elimination of malaria in Africa is sensibly focused on the challenge of P. falciparum. However the parasite species P. ovale curtisi, P. ovale wallikeri and P. malariae occur across the continent at population prevalences ranging from negligible, up to ~9% for P. ovale sp. and up to ~15% for P. malariae. All three species are able to recur in the successfully treated patient months or years after exposure, even if successful clearance of blood-stage infections has occurred through antimalarial therapy. We present some recent data from surveys in several African localities as well as analyses of Malaria Reference Laboratory data for patterns of presentation of these parasite species among imported malaria cases in the UK, and consider the possibility that a substantial hidden burden of infection exists. The public health implications and challenges posed by these malaria species to malaria eradication programmes will also be considered.