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Annals of African Medicine

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High prevalence of asymptomatic plasmodium infection in a suburb of Aba town, Nigeria

RA Eke, LN Chigbu, W Nwachukwu

Abstract


Background: Malaria is endemic in many parts of the world. Various strategies have been planned to control malaria from time to time in many places. Whatever may be the strategy the prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic plasmodium parasitaemics has been of prime importance as useful parameter for its control. It is hoped that malaria control programme in Nigeria will benefit from prevalence of parasitaemic study such as this.

Method: Ndiegoro flood disaster district was selected by stratified random sampling from 16 districts of ward 3 out of 12 wards in Aba South Local Government out of the 2 Local Governments of Aba Town. About three quarters of the houses were uninhabited as they were submerged at various depths of the selected district. The population who consented for the study was 257. Thick and thin blood films were studied by light microscopy for plasmodium parasitaemia.

Results: The prevalence of plasmodium parasitaemics in the 257 studied population was very high (45.1%). The asymptomatic parasitaemics were about three times as many as symptomatic parasitaemics (73.2% and 26.7% respectively). This difference is statistically significant (p<.01). The age group 0-4 years gave the least distribution of asymptomatic malaria parasitaemics of 2(2.9%) and a very high symptomatic parasitaemics of 16 (88.8%). The older age group of 40-59 has statistically significant difference (p < 0.01) in the distribution of asymptomatic parasitaemics of 51 (43.6%) in males as against 34 (24.3%) in females.

Conclusion: The high prevalence of parasitaemics but worse still in this study the high rate of asymptomatic parasitaemics which serve as reservoirs of infection can threaten any malaria control programme generally and in particular the present malaria control or Roll-Back malaria in Nigeria. This high rate should be considered in assessing and reorgansing the roll-back malaria in Nigeria or any malaria control programme generally.

Keywords: malaria, asymptomatic, control programme

Annals of African Medicine Vol. 5 (1) 2006: 42–45



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