Early recurrence of Plasmodium vivax is a challenge for malaria control in the field, particularly because this species is associated with lower parasitemia, which hinders diagnosis and monitoring through blood smear testing. Early recurrences, defined as the persistence of parasites in the peripheral blood despite adequate drug dosages, may arise from resistance to chloroquine. The objective of the study was to estimate early recurrence of P. vivax in the Brazilian Amazon by using a highly-sensitive detection method, in this case, PCR.
The identification of asymptomatic individuals with Plasmodium falciparum infection is difficult because they do not seek medical treatment and often have too few asexual parasites detectable using microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests (≤ 200 parasites per μl). Quantitative PCR (qPCR) may provide greater sensitivity and permits estimation of the initial template DNA concentration. This study examined the hypothesis that qPCR assays using templates with higher copy numbers may be more sensitive for P. falciparum than assays based on templates with lower copy numbers.