Published Date: 2009-06-07 01:00:16
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Plasmodium gaboni malaria, chimpanzees - Gabon
Archive Number: 20090607.2104
PLASMODIUM GABONI MALARIA, CHIMPANZEES - GABON
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 6 Jun 2009
Source: PLoS Pathogens [edited]
New Plasmodium species found in chimpanzees
Scientists from France and Gabon have published the discovery of a
new Plasmodium that infects chimpanzees in central Africa.
In the paper published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the scientists
suggest that the new species, named _Plasmodium gaboni_ is closely
related to _Plasmodium falciparum_, the most severe human malaria parasite.
The scientists discovered the new Plasmodium species by analysing 19
chimpanzees in a village in Gabon; 2 of the chimpanzees were infected
with the parasite and sequencing the mitochondrial genome revealed
that it belonged to a new species of Plasmodium, and is closely
related to P. falciparum.
According to the scientists from the Center for Medical Research
Franceville and the Institute of Research for Development, the
discovery is an important step to establish a possible relationship
between malaria which affects humans and chimpanzees.
Ollomo B, Durand P, Prugnolle F, Douzery E, Arnathau C, D Nkoghe,
Leroy E, Renaud F. A New Malaria Agent in African Hominids PLoS
Pathogen. 2009, 5 (5): e1000446
[_Plasmodium gaboni_ is a new species closely related to _Plasmodium
falciparum_ in humans, and _Plasmodium reichenowi_ is also in found in
chimpanzees. _P. gaboni_ separated from the Plasmodium clade earlier
than _P. falciparum_ and _P. reichenowi_ (see fig. 1 "Phylogenetic
Plasmodium species" in the reference above). _P. falciparum_ and _P.
reichenowi_ (see Rodhain J, Dellaert R. Studies on Plasmodium schwetzi
E. Brumpt. III. Plasmodium schwetzi infection in humans. Ann Soc Belg
Med Trop 1955;35:757-75). In areas where humans and chimpanzees live
close together as in part of west and central Africa, it is likely
that human infections from both _P.gaboni_, _P. reichenow_ and _P.
schwetzi_ are unnoticed in humans and misclassified as _P. falciparum_
and _P. vivax_ respectively. Blood meal identifications in local
mosquito populations would probably identify chimpanzee blood as
human blood due to cross reactivity of the antibodies used. Genetic
studies in humans in these areas are therefore needed to see if
indeed chimpanzee malaria species are found in humans, just as such
studies identified _P. knowlesi_ in humans in southeast Asia -- see
ProMED refs. below. - Mod.EP]