Plasmodium falciparum: use of a NANP19 antibody-test for the detection of infection in non-immune travellers


Dr Tomas Jelinek University of Munich, Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Leopoldstr 5, 80802 Munich, Germany. Fax: +49 89 336 112; Email:


Circumsporozoite (CS) antibodies are a reliable serological marker for the infection of Plasmodium falciparum. The purpose of this investigation was to construct and evaluate an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test for the detection of CS antibodies. While the sensitivity of the newly developed test reached 78%, the specificity was 99%. In addition, the optimized kit was used to test for infection with P. falciparum in 1903 travellers that were recruited from a prospective study for malaria chemoprophylaxis. Sixty-six of the 1903 patients (3.5%) showed elevated CS antigen antibody titres. However, seroconversion could only be demonstrated in 18 (0.95%) patients. Among those seroconverting, there was a significantly higher percentage of male travellers (1.28%) than female travellers (0.56%). Positive reactions were more frequent among returnees from West and East Africa (1.49 and 1.14%, respectively) than among those from other endemic areas, e.g. South America (n=0). Despite its limited sensitivity, this newly developed kit for CS antibody testing may be a valuable tool for the estimation of the risk for travellers in malarious regions to acquire an infection with P. falciparum. It may also be useful for the determination of the efficacy of malaria chemoprophylaxis for inhibiting outbreak of disease.