P. vivax malaria an introduction
Between 4.5 and 5.5 million clinical infections are caused by Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) every year. P. vivax malaria is a serious mosquito-borne infectious disease that occurs in most tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. The disease is caused by parasites of the Plasmodium group and transmitted by a diversity of Anopheles spp. mosquitoes.
P. vivax is associated with ongoing disease and death in severe cases. Children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and migrant populations are especially at risk of P. vivax malaria.
The complex lifecycle of P. vivax includes an undetectable dormant liver stage called the hypnozoite, which may reactivate, causing multiple or repeated episodes of malaria from a single infectious bite.
Clinical signs and symptoms alone do not permit accurate diagnosis of P. vivax. All suspected cases should be confirmed by a diagnostic tool: either light microscopy, a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) or molecular methods.
P. vivax predominates in countries that are prime candidates for malaria elimination. However, the biology and ecology of P. vivax causes the pathogen to be less susceptible to malaria control efforts which creates significant challenges for elimination.