Print version ISSN 0120-4157
The first reported case of natural transmission of Plasmodium knowlesi to humans was published in 1965. In Southeast Asia, the atypical presentation of malaria cases, the changes in the distribution of the Plasmodium species diagnosed and their atypical morphology prompted several studies that confirmed natural infections in humans by this protozoon which naturally infects different species of apes which are endemic in the forests of this region. Recent studies suggest that P. knowlesi malaria is not an emerging disease in humans but was rather being misdiagnosed due to its morphological similarity with P. malariae and P. falciparum, hampering its correct diagnosis by microscopic examination. Currently, the diagnosis can be confirmed by polymerase chain reaction using P. knowlesi specific primers. Malaria by P. knowlesi has lead to fatal outcomes in humans and poses several challenges such as the development of useful diagnostic tools for endemic areas, the study of the vectors involved and the therapeutic efficacy of the drugs for its treatment. In the jungle regions of South America it is imperative to monitor the parasites of simian malaria and the vectors that have the potential to transmit this zoonosis.
Keywords : Plasmodium knowlesi; infection, humans.