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Enquête sur une possible transmission du plasmodium monkey chez l’homme habitant dans la foret équatoriale en République Démocratique du Congo / Investigation on possible transmission of monkeys’ plasmodium to human in a population living in the equatorial rainforest of the Democratic republic of Congo

Mvumbi DM1, Bobanga TL², Umesumbu S3, Kunyu S², Kayembe JMN4, Situakibanza HN², Mvumbi GL1, Melin P5, De Mol P5 & Hayette MP5

1 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Unit, Department of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, DR Congo
2 Department of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, DR Congo Department of Clinical
3 National Malaria Control Program, DR Congo
4 Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, DR Congo
5 Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital of Liège, Liège, Belgium



Plasmodiums are protozoa that may infect various hosts like humans, birds, reptiles, rodents or nonhuman primates. Only
five species are now recognized as naturally parasitizing humans: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. knowlesi. This fifth
species, P. knowlesi, previously identified as naturally parasitizing the monkey Macaca fascicularis, has been microscopically confused
for a long time with P. malariae or P. falciparum (according to their respective evolutionary stage) and it was not possible to
correctly differentiate them until the advent of molecular biology. To date, natural human infections with P. knowlesi only occur in
Southeast Asia and a similar phenomenon of natural transmission of simian plasmodium to humans has not been reported elsewhere. This
study was conducted to investigate a possible transmission of African monkey’s plasmodium to humans in populations living near the rainforest
of the Democratic Republic of Congo where several species of non-human primates are living.
Methods. Three villages of the Equatorial Province of the DRC (North-western) have been selected according to their geographical
localization near the rainforest, wherein one hundred asymptomatic individuals have been randomly selected per village for blood
collection. Two successive real-time PCR were designed: the first one allows the detection of all plasmodium sp. and the second one allows the
detection of the four plasmodium species that infect humans in Africa. Positivity in the first RT- PCR with negativity in the 2nd RT- PCR
would suggest the presence of a non-human plasmodium species.
Results. On the three hundred samples analyzed, 139 (46.3%) were positive for P. falciparum for the two Real-time PCR. No other plasmodium
species has been detected.
Conclusion. Almost of half percent of Congolese equatorial rainforest population presents malaria P. falciparum. But this study  did not detect any monkeys‟ plasmodium.
Studies including larger samples with more advanced techniques are needed.
Keywords: monkey plasmodium; Democratic Republic of Congo; RT-PCR; malaria

CC BY-NC 4.0 Cette œuvre est sous Licence Creative Commons Internationale Attribution-Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale 4.0.

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