Malaria persists in South Korea despite continuous measures to control the Plasmodium vivax parasite found there. Data from a recent molecular genetic epidemiologic study conducted by Japanese and Korean researchers suggest that this situation results from parasite transmission from nearby regions where vivax malaria is not well controlled (Iwagami M et al. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7:e2522).
To examine possible reasons for the lack of success in eliminating malaria transmitted by P vivax in South Korea, the investigators analyzed 14 microsatellite DNA loci (regions of short tandem repeat DNA sequences) in the parasite genome from 163 isolates collected from South Korean soldiers who served in the demilitarized zone from 1994 to 2008.
Friedrich MJ. Explaining the Persistence of Malaria in South Korea. JAMA. 2013;310(23):2497. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.284381