Prevalence of K13 mutation and Day‑3 positive parasitaemia in artemisinin‑resistant malaria endemic area of Cambodia: a cross‑sectional study

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Background: The presence of artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites was confirmed in western Cambodia in 2009. In 2013, mutations in the propeller domain of the kelch protein K13 was found to be associated with artemisinin resistance. A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of Day-3 parasitaemia, estimate the frequency of k13 molecular marker and assess their relationship in the context of operational research.

Methods: Blood smears and filter paper blood spots were collected from febrile patients in Kravanh District, Pursat Province. The blood smears were examined by microscopy, and blood spots by a k13 mutation assay.

Results: Data from 92 patients were analyzed. Only one was positive for Day-3 parasitaemia. Results of the k13 assay were interpretable for 76 of the 92 samples. The findings were: wild type: 9 (12%), C580Y: 64 (84%), Y493H: 3 (4%). Therefore, despite the high prevalence of k13 mutants (67/76: 88%), only 1 of the 92 patients remained blood smear positive for Plasmodium falciparum on Day-3.

Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest good potency of artemisinin despite the dominance of k13 mutation in Kravanh, but the result is not necessarily representative of the western part of Cambodia. Further investigation should be made to determine if k13 marker remains useful as a tool for tracking artemisinin resistance and predicting the trend of the efficacy of artemisinin combination therapy once the mutant alleles have been well established in the population.


Publication Date 
September 2017
Resource Type 
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles
Research Reports
Regions/ Countries