Korean J Parasitol.  2020 Dec;58(6):609-617. 10.3347/kjp.2020.58.6.609.

Surveillance on the Vivax Malaria in Endemic Areas in the Republic of Korea Based on Molecular and Serological Analyses

  • 1Department of Medical Environmental Biology and Tropical Medicine, School of Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
  • 2Department of Pathogenic Biology, School of Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu 225000, China
  • 3Division of Vectors and Parasitic Diseases, Bureau of Infectious Disease Diagnosis Control, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Chungbuk 28159, Korea
  • 4Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea


Plasmodium vivax reemerged in 1993. It has been sustained for more than 25 years and become one of the important indigenous parasitic diseases in northern and western parts of the Republic of Korea near the demilitarized zone. In particular, relapse is a significant concern for the control of malaria, as short- and long-term incubation periods vary among those infected in Korea. In this study, the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers was examined among residents of high endemic areas of vivax malaria during nonseasonal transmission of mosquitoes. Blood samples from 3 endemic regions in northwestern Korea were evaluated by microscopic examination, rapid diagnostic testing, and nested PCR to identify asymptomatic patients carrying malaria parasites in the community. However, no positive malaria case among residents of endemic areas was detected. Additionally, serological analysis was carried out to measure antibodies against 3 antigenic recombinant proteins of P. vivax, merozoite surface protein 1-19, circumsporozoite surface protein-VK210, and liver-stage antigen (PvLSA-N), by the protein array method. Interestingly, seropositivity of sera between previous exposure and samples without exposure to malaria was significantly higher using the PvLSA-N antigen than the other antigens, suggesting that PvLSA-N can be used as a serological marker to analyze the degree of exposure for malaria transmission in endemic areas. This indicates a very low asymptomatic carrier prevalence during the nonmalaria season in the endemic areas of Korea.


diagnosis; resident; endemic area; non-malaria season; serological marker; PvLSA
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