Origin and dissemination of Plasmodium falciparum drug-resistance mutations in South America.
Multidrug resistance is a major obstacle to the control of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and its origins and modes of dissemination are imperfectly understood. In this study, haplotyping and microsatellite analysis of malaria from 5 regions of the South American Amazon support the conclusion that the parasite mutations conferring mid- and high-level resistance to the antifolate combination sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine have a common origin. Parasites harboring these mutations are also found to share drug-resistance alleles that confer a unique chloroquine resistance phenotype and to be similar at loci not linked to drug resistance, although not genetically identical. Since the 1980s, multidrug-resistant P. falciparum has spread in a north-northwest manner across the continent, from an origin likely in the lower Amazon. This study highlights the importance of continent-wide malaria-control policies and suggests that the containment of resistance to the next generation of therapies may be feasible.
Cortese, JF; Caraballo, A; Contreras, CE; Plowe, CV
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