Genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum among pregnant women in south-west Nigeria

  • M.A. Oboh
  • E.T. Idowu
  • M.K. Oyebola
  • Y.A. Olukosi
  • O.A Otubanjo
  • M.A Mafe
Keywords: Genetic diversity, Plasmodium falciparum, merozoite surface proteins.


Pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) is a major public health concern and an important contributor to maternal and foetal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Understanding of the biological basis of malaria in pregnancy was recently advanced by the discovery that susceptibility to PAM is not solely dependent on pre-exposure or gravidity. It was hypothesize in this study that PAM is difficult to diagnose in pregnant women who are multigravidae due to antibodies acquired from previous infections coupled with the extensive genetic diversity of the parasite. This cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the extent of genetic diversity of P. falciparum isolates among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Lagos, Nigeria between August 2013 and February 2014. A total of 414 pregnant women in their first (84), second (124) and third (206) trimesters were recruited for this study. Blood spots were made from P. falciparum positive blood samples and the parasite deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted for merozoite surface proteins 1 and 2 genotyping. The prevalence of FC27 allele type from pregnant women isolate was higher (33.3%) than that from non-pregnant women (29.2%). The multiplicity of infection with P. falciparum in both groups was low. The findings indicate a low level of P. falciparum diversity among pregnant women but there is need for year-round surveillance especially during the peak malaria transmission.

Keywords: Genetic diversity; Plasmodium falciparum; merozoite surface proteins.


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eISSN: 1117-4145