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All Plasmodium cases have declined over the last decade in northwestern Thailand along the Myanmar border. During this time, Plasmodium vivax has replaced Plasmodium falciparum as the dominant species. The decline in P. falciparum has been shadowed by a coincidental but delayed decline in P. vivax cases. This may be due to early detection and artemisinin-based therapy, species-specific diagnostics, and bed net usage all of which reduce malaria transmission but not P. vivax relapse. In the absence of widespread primaquine use for radical cure against P. vivax hypnozoites, the decline in P. vivax may be explained by decreased hypnozoite activation of P. vivax relapses triggered by P. falciparum. The observed trends in this region suggest a beneficial effect of decreased P. falciparum transmission on P. vivax incidence, but elimination of P. vivax in a timely manner likely requires radical cure.

Original publication




Journal article


The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Publication Date



Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.