A case of malaria caused by Plasmodium knowlesi is described in a 52-year-old female German traveler after returning from Thailand. P. knowlesi is a parasite of macaques in Southeast Asia and has been recognized in recent years as an important and probably increasing cause of human malaria in some areas. At least 16 cases in international travelers have been published so far. This includes four cases imported to Germany. All German patients visited forested areas in Southern Thailand inhabited by the natural monkey host prior to their illness. Most cases diagnosed in endemic areas present as mild disease. However in some patients P. knowlesi may take a severe and life-threatening course. Diagnosis is usually is based on microscopy whereas rapid tests are not reliable. However, microscopic differentiation of P. knowlesi from other plasmodium species (eg, P. malariae, P. falciparum) is difficult, especially when parasitemia is low. Thus PCR methods are required for definite species determination. Changing endemicity as well as changing tourism patterns such as the trend towards eco-tourism might increase the risk of infection for travelers even in areas which are considered as low endemic for malaria. Malaria has to be considered in all febrile patients returning from endemic areas. In Southeast Asia this has to include Plasmodium knowlesi infection. Especially if microscopy suggests P. falciparum/P. malariae double infection, or when results indicate P. malariae but the clinical presentation differs from that of quartan malaria (eg, daily fever), diagnostic procedures for P. knowlesi should be initiated. Currently available rapid diagnostic tests are not reliable for the detection of P. knowlesi. The definite diagnosis of P. knowlesi infection usually requires PCR techniques Changing tourism patterns such as the trend towards eco-tourism might increase the risk of infection for travelers even in low prevalence areas.
|Translated title of the contribution||Monkey malaria (Plasmodium knowlesi infection) after travelling to Thailand|
|Journal||Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift|
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|