Microscopic Plasmodium falciparum Gametocytemia and Infectivity to Mosquitoes in Cambodia

Jessica T. Lin*, Ratawan Ubalee, Chanthap Lon, Sujata Balasubramanian, Worachet Kuntawunginn, Rifat Rahman, Piyaporn Saingam, Thay Kheang Heng, Dav Vy, Savoeun San, Sarath Nuom, Hana Burkly, Nitima Chanarat, Chanudom Ponsa, Lauren Levitz, Christian Parobek, Char Meng Chuor, Sok Somethy, Michele Spring, Charlotte LanteriPanita Gosi, Steven R. Meshnick, David L. Saunders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Although gametocytes are essential for malaria transmission, in Africa many falciparum-infected persons without smear-detectable gametocytes still infect mosquitoes. To see whether the same is true in Southeast Asia, we determined the infectiousness of 119 falciparum-infected Cambodian adults to Anopheles dirus mosquitoes by membrane feeding. Just 5.9% of subjects infected mosquitoes. The 8.4% of patients with smear-detectable gametocytes were >20 times more likely to infect mosquitoes than those without and were the source of 96% of all mosquito infections. In low-transmission settings, targeting transmission-blocking interventions to those with microscopic gametocytemia may have an outsized effect on malaria control and elimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1494
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Anopheles dirus
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • gametocyte membrane feeding
  • infectious reservoir
  • malaria transmission
  • submicroscopic


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