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Researchers find that a change in parasite behaviour may help them survive in the human host during the dry season, and the importance of preventative malaria treatment in school children is demonstrated in a recent review.

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New research has identified how malaria parasites might survive during the dry season when mosquitoes are not around to transmit malaria. In the dry season, Plasmodium falciparum parasites seem to change their behaviour, developing more slowly, appearing longer in circulation and no longer sticking to blood vessels. The researchers propose that these changes result in more parasites being cleared by the spleen. The parasites that remain are at levels that don’t cause symptoms. Although more research is needed, it seems that this slowing down of parasite activity, and the permitted death of some parasites, helps the parasite to persist in the human host until mosquitoes return to complete the transmission cycle.

The importance of preventative malaria treatment in school children has been demonstrated in a recent review. Researchers found that treatment reduces malaria infection rates, clinical cases of the disease and reduces malaria-related anaemia.


Increased Circulation Time of Plasmodium falciparum Underlies Persistent Asymptomatic Infection in the Dry Season

Preventive Malaria Treatment Among School-Aged Children in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses

Image Credits: CDC/ Dr. Mae Melvin [18761]

Scientific Advisor: Katharine Collins, Radboud University Medical Centre

Categories: Malaria Minute