Malaria is a parasitic disease defined as a major problem of public health in Côte d'Ivoire. One of the constraints of the control of this disease might be the genetic diversity of the main pathogen, Plasmodium falciparum. This study aims to evaluate the genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum in individuals at the regional health center in Daloa, Côte d’Ivoire. A total of 380 blood samples were collected from patients, from June to October, 2015, based on malaria clinical signs and symptoms. Whole DNA was extracted from blood samples tested positive by microscopic examination for P. falciparum. A nested PCR targeting the msp-1(block 2) allelic families was implemented for the parasite genetic diversity. The associations between malaria infection and socio-environment factors were estimated. Out of the 380 examined patients, 262 were tested positive by microscopic examination representing a prevalence of 68.95%. Genotyping from 160 sample randomly chosen allowed to identify 35 alleles comprising 13 K1, 12 Mad 20 and 10 Ro33 type. Mixed infections were significantly correlated with the parasite load. The number of parasite strains hosted by a patient was significantly linked to the level of anemia and the parasite density. The multiplicity of the infection (MOI) decreased significantly with the age. Genetic variability of strains is a very important parameter to be taken into account in the epidemiology of malaria. The present results should draw the attention of decision-makers to develop a better monitoring strategy for the elimination of malaria in an endemic country such as Côte d'Ivoire.
Key words: Plasmodium falciparum, malaria, infection rate, genetic diversity, Côte d’Ivoire.
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