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      Imported malaria in an area in southern Madrid, 2005-2008


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          In Spain, malaria cases are mostly due to migrants and travellers returning from endemic areas. The objective of this work was to describe the malaria cases diagnosed at the Severo Ochoa University Hospital (HUSO) in Leganés in the south of the Madrid Region from 2005 to 2008.


          Descriptive retrospective study performed at HUSO. Data sources are registries from the Microbiology Department and malaria cases notified to the Preventive Medicine Department. Analysed parameters were: administrative, demographical, related to the stay at the endemic country, clinical, microbiological diagnosis method, pregnancy, treatment and prophylaxis, co-infections, and days of hospital stay.


          Fifty-seven patients diagnosed with malaria were studied. Case distribution per year was 13 in 2005, 15 in 2006, 15 in 2007 and 14 in 2008. Thirty-three patients were female (57.9%) and 24 male (42.1%). Mean age was 27.8 years. Most of the malaria cases were acquired in Nigeria (49.1%) and Equatorial Guinea (32.7%). 29.1% of the patients were immigrants who had arrived recently, and 61.8% acquired malaria when travelling to their countries of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFR). Majority of cases were diagnosed between June and September. Microscopy was positive in 39 cases (68.4%) immunochromatography in 42 (73.7%) and PCR in the 55 cases where performed. Plasmodium falciparum was responsible for 94.7% of the cases. The more frequent symptoms were fever (77.2%), followed by headache and gastrointestinal symptoms (33.3%). Nine cases needed hospital admittance, a pregnant woman, three children, four VFR and an African tourist, but all evolved favourably. Chemoprophylaxis data was known from 55 patients. It was taken correctly in one case (1.8%), in five (9.1%) the prophylaxis was improper while the others 49 (89.1%) cases had not followed any anti-malarial prophylaxis.


          Children, pregnant women and the VFR have the highest risk to present severe malaria and to need hospital admittance. Another important risk factor for acquiring malaria is incorrect prophylaxis. The first place for malaria acquisition was Nigeria and the main species causing malaria was P. falciparum.

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          Alternative polymerase chain reaction method to identify Plasmodium species in human blood samples: the semi-nested multiplex malaria PCR (SnM-PCR).

          A simplified protocol for the identification of Plasmodium species by semi-nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction (SnM-PCR) in human blood samples is compared with microscopical examination of thin and thick blood films in 2 field trials in Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon. Also, dried blood spots or liquid blood collected from Dutch soldiers returning from Goma, Zaire (n = 141), Angola (n = 40), and from Marechaussee (Dutch border police) returning from various parts of the world (n = 161) were examined, together with miscellaneous other material obtained from laboratories and hospitals. The method is based on features of the small subunit nuclear ribosomal ribonucleic acid (RNA) gene (ssrDNA), a multicopy gene which possesses both highly conserved domains and domains characteristic for each of the 4 human malaria parasites. The first reaction of the SnM-PCR includes a universal reverse primer with 2 forward primers specific for Plasmodium and mammals, respectively. The mammalian-specific primer was included as a positive control to distinguish uninfected cases from simple PCR failures. The second PCR reaction includes a Plasmodium-specific forward primer plus species-specific reverse primers for P. vivax, P. ovale, P. falciparum and P. malariae. The technique worked better with samples collected in the field as dried blood spots on filter paper and heparinized blood rather than with frozen pelleted blood; it was more sensitive and more specific than the standard microscopical examination.
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            Prevalence of Plasmodium spp. in malaria asymptomatic African migrants assessed by nucleic acid sequence based amplification

            Background Malaria is one of the most important infectious diseases in the world. Although most cases are found distributed in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Central and South Americas, there is in Europe a significant increase in the number of imported cases in non-endemic countries, in particular due to the higher mobility in today's society. Methods The prevalence of a possible asymptomatic infection with Plasmodium species was assessed using Nucleic Acid Sequence Based Amplification (NASBA) assays on clinical samples collected from 195 study cases with no clinical signs related to malaria and coming from sub-Saharan African regions to Southern Italy. In addition, base-line demographic, clinical and socio-economic information was collected from study participants who also underwent a full clinical examination. Results Sixty-two study subjects (31.8%) were found positive for Plasmodium using a pan Plasmodium specific NASBA which can detect all four Plasmodium species causing human disease, based on the small subunit 18S rRNA gene (18S NASBA). Twenty-four samples (38%) of the 62 18S NASBA positive study cases were found positive with a Pfs25 mRNA NASBA, which is specific for the detection of gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. A statistically significant association was observed between 18S NASBA positivity and splenomegaly, hepatomegaly and leukopaenia and country of origin. Conclusion This study showed that a substantial proportion of people originating from malaria endemic countries harbor malaria parasites in their blood. If transmission conditions are available, they could potentially be a reservoir. Thefore, health authorities should pay special attention to the health of this potential risk group and aim to improve their health conditions.
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              Imported malaria in a cosmopolitan European city: A mirror image of the world epidemiological situation

              Background International travel and migration have been related with an increase of imported malaria cases. There has been considerable immigration to Barcelona from low-income countries (LIC) in recent years. The objective is to describe the epidemiology and to determine the trends of the disease in Barcelona. Methods Analysis of the cases notified among city residents between 1989 and 2005. Patients were classified as: tourists, voluntary workers, resident immigrants (visiting friends and relatives, VFR) and recently arrived immigrants. An analysis was conducted using the chi2 test and comparison of means. As a measure of association we calculated the Relative Risk (RR) and Odds Ratio (OR) with a Confidence Interval of 95% (CI) and carried out a trends analysis. Results Of the total of 1,579 imported cases notified, 997 (63.1%) lived in Barcelona city, and 55.1% were male. The mean age of patients was 32.7 years. The incidence increased from 2.4 cases/100,000 in 1989 to 3.5 cases/100,000 in 2005 (RR 1.46 CI:1.36–1.55). This increase was not statistically significant (trends analysis, p = 0.36). In terms of reason for travelling, 40.7% were VFR, 33.6% tourists, 12.1% voluntary workers and 13.6% were recently arrived immigrants. The most frequent species found was Plasmodium falciparum (71.3%), mainly in visitors to Africa (OR = 2.3, CI = 1.7–3.2). The vast majority (82.2%) had had some contact with Africa (35.9% with Equatorial Guinea, a Spanish ex-colony) and 96.6% had not completed chemoprophylaxis. Six deaths were observed, all tourists who had travelled to Africa and not taken chemoprophylaxis (3.9% fatality rate). Conclusion Over the period studied there is an increase in malaria incidence, however the trend is not statistically significant. Lack of chemoprophylaxis compliance and the association between Africa and P. falciparum are very clear in the imported cases. Most of the patients with malaria did not take chemoprophylaxis.

                Author and article information

                Malar J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central
                20 October 2010
                : 9
                : 290
                [1 ]Microbiology and Parasitology Department. Severo Ochoa University Hospital, Avda Orellana s/n, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain
                [2 ]Preventive Medicine Department. Severo Ochoa University Hospital, Avda Orellana s/n, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain
                [3 ]Malaria & Emerging Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Parasitology Department, National Centre of Microbiology. Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Cra. Majadahonda Pozuelo Km.2, Majadahonda, 28220 Madrid, Spain
                Copyright ©2010 Rey et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Infectious disease & Microbiology


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