Four species of malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi infect humans living in the Khanh Phu commune, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. The latter species also infects wild macaque monkeys in this region. In order to understand the transmission dynamics of the three species, we attempted to detect gametocytes of the three species in the blood of infected individuals, and sporozoites in the salivary glands of mosquitoes from the same region. For the detection of gametocyte-specific mRNA, we targeted region 3 of pfg377, pvs25, pmg and pks25 as indicators of the presence of P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. knowlesi gametocytes, respectively. Gametocyte-specific mRNA was present in 37, 61, 0 and 47% of people infected with P. falciparum (n = 95), P. vivax (n = 69), P. malariae (n = 6) or P. knowlesi (n = 32), respectively. We found that 70% of mosquitoes that had P. knowlesi in their salivary glands also carried human malaria parasites, suggesting that mosquitoes are infected with P. knowlesi from human infections.
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