Over diagnosis of typhoid and malaria co-infection by health care workers in north central Nigeria: A cross-sectional study

  • N.Y. Shehu
  • J. Bimba
  • D. Nantok
  • I. Kelly
  • O. Obrerhor
  • S.S.I. Gomerep
  • K.I. Onyedibe
  • K.I. Onyedibe


Introduction: Typhoid and malaria are significant causes of morbidity and mortality, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Typhoid and malaria co-infection may occur as superinfection or even simultaneous infections. However, it appears to be rather rare. It is imperative to make an accurate diagnosis of typhoid and malaria co-infection. The study set out to determine the practice among healthcare workers in the diagnosis and treatment of typhoid and malaria co-infection.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in Jos North Local Government Area in North-Central Nigeria. The sample population consisted of health care workers (HCWs) who were involved in the management of typhoid and malaria. Data were analysed using STATA version 14.0 College station, Boston, USA.
Results: Seventy-five HCWs were interviewed. Typhoid and malaria were diagnosed by 67 (89%) HCWs at least once weekly, and by the other 11% at least once every month. The Widal test was used to make a diagnosis of typhoid in greater than 70% of the cases. There was no statistical difference in the rate of typhoid diagnoses between medical doctors and other HCW.
Conclusion: There is a high rate of false diagnosis of malaria and typhoid co-infection. This informs the crucial need for quality training and re-training of health care workers in the diagnosis of these conditions.

Keywords: False, typhoid, malaria, co-infection