Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Plasmodium knowlesi

Plasmodium knowlesi is the fifth species that can cause malaria in humans and was declared an emerging public health threat in 2004 [ref]. Currently, this species still holds many unanswered questions, such as its transmission mechanism or its complete geographic distribution; threatening the effectiveness of malaria control and elimination strategies. In the last years, the number of cases reported has increased in Southeast Asia and P. knowlesi is among the first causes of malaria in Malaysia [ref].

In 2011, WHO held an informal consultation on the public health importance of P. knowlesi [ref] and the creation of an Evidence Review Group (ERG) was requested in 2016 [ref]. The outcomes from the ERG were presented to MPAC in March 2017 [ref].

MPAC noted with concern the increase of P. knowlesi cases in Malaysia, potentially linked to a change in land use and the plausibility (though not definitively demonstrated) of human-vector-human transmission. MPAC also highlighted that if human-vector-human transmission is demonstrated in Malaysia, P. knowlesi would need to be considered a human malaria infection and elimination of P. knowlesi may be necessary for certification of malaria-free status [ref].

The aim of this deep dive is to describe the landscape of current research in P. knowlesi: information related to ongoing research activities was collected, quality checked and validated through systematically searching online databases of grants and through direct contact with expert researchers.

Deep dive outputs:

  • Poster presented at the Sixth International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics (Epidemics)