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Background: The renewed malaria eradication efforts require an understanding of the seasonal patterns of frequency of polymorphic variants in order to focus limited funds productively. Although cross-sectional studies in holoendemic areas spanning a single year could be useful in describing parasite genotype status at a given point, such information is inadequate in describing temporal trends in genotype polymorphisms. For Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Kisumu District Hospital, Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine-resistance transporter gene (Pfcrt-K76T) and P. falciparum multidrug resistance gene 1 (PfMDR1-N86Y), were analyzed for polymorphisms and parasitemia changes in the 53 months from March 2008 to August 2012. Observations were compared with prevailing climatic factors, including humidity, rainfall, and temperature.
Methods: Parasitemia (the percentage of infected red blood cells per total red blood cells) was established by microscopy for P. falciparum malaria-positive samples. P. falciparum DNA was extracted from whole blood using a Qiagen DNA Blood Mini Kit. Single nucleotide polymorphism identification at positions Pfcrt-K76T and PfMDR1-N86Y was performed using real-time polymerase chain reaction and/or sequencing. Data on climatic variables were obtained from http://www.tutiempo.net/en/.
Results: A total of 895 field isolates from 2008 (n=169), 2009 (n=161), 2010 (n=216), 2011 (n=223), and 2012 (n=126) showed large variations in monthly frequency of PfMDR1-N86Y and Pfcrt-K76T as the mutant genotypes decreased from 68.4%±15% and 38.1%±13% to 29.8%±18% and 13.3%±9%, respectively. The mean percentage of parasitemia was 2.61%±1.01% (coefficient of variation 115.86%; n=895). There was no correlation between genotype or parasitemia and climatic factors.
Conclusion: This study shows variability in the frequency of Pfcrt-K76T and PfMDR1-N86Y polymorphisms during the study period, bringing into focus the role of cross-sectional studies in describing temporal genotype trends. The lack of correlation between genotypes and climatic changes, especially precipitation, emphasizes the cost of investment in genotype change.