African Health Sciences

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Seroprevalence of parvovirus B19 in blood donors: the risks and challenges of blood transfusion in Zambia in the era of HIV/AIDS at the Kitwe Central Hospital, blood bank

Memory Chirambo-Kalolekesha, Trevor Kaile, Florence Mwaba, Victor Daka, Marah Simakando, Sumbukeni Kowa


Background: Human Parvovirus (B19V) is a small, single-stranded, non-enveloped DNA virus which is pathogenic to humans causing a wide array of clinical complications which include erythema infectiosum, aplastic crisis and hydrops foetalis. It is generally harmless in healthy individuals but may be life threatening in immunocompromised individuals such as patients with sickle cell disease, cancer, HIV and pregnant women. It has been shown to be transmissible by blood transfusion but donor screening for the virus is not yet mandatory in most sub-Saharan African countries including Zambia.
Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional study undertaken at the Kitwe Central Hospital, blood bank and Tropical Diseases Research Centre at Ndola Central Hospital. A total of 192 blood samples were screened for Ig M antibodies against parvovirus B19 by ELISA.
Objectives: The general objective of the study was to determine the seroprevalence of parvovirus B19 infections among healthy blood donors at the Kitwe Central Hospital blood bank. Specific Objectives were to detect parvovirus B19 Ig M antibodies in donor blood using serology and to analyse the age and sex distribution of parvovirus among blood donors.
Results: The prevalence of parvovirus B19 Ig M in this study was 15.6%. The majority of the positive cases were in the age group 15-22 years (17.8%) but there was no statistical significance between occurrence of parvovirus and age ( p value=0.703). Prevalence in males was higher than in females that is 16.4% and 13.8%, respectively. The relationship between gender and parvovirus B19 occurrence was however not significant either (p value=0.516)
Conclusion: This study showed a 15.6% prevalence rate of acute Parvovirus B19 infections in blood donors at the Kitwe Central Hospital, blood bank. Studies with larger sample sizes are needed to validate these results.

Keywords: Parvovirus B19 in blood donors, blood transfusion, Zambia, HIV/AIDS, Kitwe Central Hospital, blood bank.

AJOL African Journals Online