The risk of transfusion transmitted malaria and the need for malaria screening of blood donors in Abuja, Nigeria
Background: Blood transfusion saves life but it is also a major risk factor in the transmission of certain infections such as malaria, which remains a public health problem in tropical and sub-Saharan Africa.
Methodology: This study investigated the prevalence of malaria among 550 blood donors aged 18 to 60 years from blood bank units of some selected hospitals in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, using gold standard microscopy for malaria parasite detection.
Results: Two hundred and fifty two (45.8%) donors were positive for malaria parasites. Replacement donors had higher prevalence rate of malaria compared to voluntary donors. The distribution of infection on the basis of age revealed the highest prevalence rate of malaria among the 20- 29yrs age group. The rate of infection among the males and the females was not significantly different (p>0.05). No association was observed between the blood group types and the rate of malaria infection (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: A high prevalence of malaria parasitaemia was observed among blood donors in FCT, Abuja, Nigeria in this study. The introduction of malaria screening as part of routine screening for blood donation and the provision of modern blood screening equipment within healthcare facilities are highly advocated.
Keywords: Blood, Malaria, Microscopy, ABO Blood group