The genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum) infections in humans is implicated in the pathogenesis of malaria. This study provides the first estimate of the genetic diversity and genotype multiplicity of Plasmodium falciparum infection in children with uncomplicated P falciparum malaria in Osogbo, Nigeria. One hundred and one isolates were used for analysis of parasite population polymorphism and genotyped by nested-PCR of merozoite surface protein 2 (MSP2) block 3. Amplicons were obtained for all the 101 genotyped samples in MSP2 PCR with 9 alleles varying in size between 300 and 800 base pair. Thirty-three (31.7%) samples had FC27 allele while 27 (26.7%) had 3D7 allele and 35 (34.7%) had mixed alleles (3D7+FC27). The Multiplicity of Infection (MOI) in the population was 1.6. Children in the age group of > 4–8 years had the highest number of different genotypes in their samples (1.8).
The number of MSP2 bands per isolate was lower in the older age group (1.3) but the difference was not statistically significant. Children with parasite density range 5001–10 000 had the highest MOI of 2 while those with parasite density range 1000–5000 had the lowest of 1.5. In conclusion, the present study shows that the field isolates are highly diverse in respect of MSP2 and multiplicity of infection was neither age nor parasite density dependent in the study population.