The relapsing parasite Plasmodium vivax has long been considered absent from the majority of sub-Saharan Africa due to a high prevalence of the Duffy-negative human blood group. This means that diagnostic methods and reporting systems in most countries across the continent where P. falciparum predominates are not equipped to document P. vivax infections.
The low blood-stage parasite densities associated with P. vivax infections and the morphological similarity to other species adds further difficulty to assessing its significance in these regions. However, increased access in recent years to high sensitivity molecular diagnostics has given rise to evidence of its transmission in populations across the continent.
Under the leadership of Dr. Rosalind Howes, this project aims to compile varied strains of evidence of P. vivax transmission into a standardised framework, allowing an objective review of the available evidence of this parasite’s presence on the continent. The assembled evidence includes clinical case reports, cross-sectional prevalence surveys, entomological and serological studies as well as documented infections in naïve travellers.
The current data assembly updates a previous iteration published in 2015 since which time numerous new studies have been published.