Prevalence of Plasmodium parasites in non-human primates and mosquitoes in areas with different degrees of fragmentation in Colombia

Silvia Rondón, Cielo León, Andrés Link, Camila González

Parasites from the genus Plasmodium, responsible of causing Malaria in humans, are able to infect also non-human primates (NHPs), increasing the potential risk of zoonoses and their globally public health concern. This study aimed to determine the circulating species of Plasmodium in Anopheles and Ateles hybridus, Cebus versicolor, Alouatta seniculus and Aotus griseimembra living in fragmented forests within the Magdalena River valley, in order to evaluate the risk of infection to humans associated with the presence of NHPs and Anopheles infected with Plasmodium spp. One hundred and sixty six fecal samples and twenty-five blood samples were collected from NHPs, while four hundred and forty two Anopheles were collected. DNA extraction, electrophoresis and sequencing were conducted in order to identify Plasmodium sppPlasmodium was detected in 20 samples of  NHPs, and the higher Plasmodium prevalence was found for P. malariae/brasilianum in blood and fecal samples of A. seniculus and A. hybridus respectively. Plasmodium falciparum was found infecting A. seniculus, while P.vivax/simium infected A. hybridus, C. versicolor and A. seniculus.  P. malariae/brasilianum was found infecting all the four NHPs speciesPlasmodium prevalence in NHPs was not related to fragmentation (General linear model: fecal samples Pr= 0.415, blood samples= 0.272) or distance to nearest town (General linear model: fecal samples Pr= 0.272, blood samples= 0.272). Infection with P.vivax/simium was found in Anopheles nuneztovari, Anopheles neomaculipalpus, and Anopheles triannulatus. Furthermore, Anopheles oswaldoi and Anopheles triannulatus were found infected with P. malariae/brasilianum.The minimum infection rate in Anopheles species was related to fragmentation (General linear model: Pr= 0.002) but not related to distance to nearest town (General linear model: Pr= 0.056). The presence of Plasmodium spp. in NHPs and Anopheles spp. in fragmented forests is a scenario that suggests important epidemiological implications and the associated risk of malaria transmission.

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