The prevalence of malarial parasitaemia among blood donors in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika, Zaria, Nigeria

  • AO Oche
  • M Aminu


BACKGROUND: Blood serves as a vehicle for transmission of blood-borne pathogens and transfusion-associated malaria is a major concern in malaria endemic countries. The study was conducted to determine the prevalence of malaria parasite among blood donors in Zaria, Nigeria.
METHODS: A total of 160 venous blood samples were screened for malaria parasites using Giemsa-stained thick and thin blood films between June and August 2011. The ABO phenotypes were classified using a haemaglutination standard test.
RESULTS: Of the 160 samples examined, 47 (29.4%) were infected. Plasmodium falciparum was the commonest species of Plasmodium detected in the study (80.5%: 38/47). The infection was significantly (p<0.05) detected more in female donors (43.8%: 7/16) than male donors (27.7%: 40/144) and was not associated with age. However the peak parasitaemia showed a bimodal distribution with donors in both age groups 26-35 and 36-45 having the highest prevalence (31%), while age group 18-25 had the lowest (25.7%: 9/35). Donors with blood group AB had the predominant infection rate (37.5%: 3/8) while blood group O had the least (26%: 25/94). Malaria parasite was detected with the highest prevalence at low (+) density (57.5%: 27/47).
CONCLUSION: The present study showed a considerable prevalence of asymptomatic malaria, hence some risk of malarial transmission by the blood donors. Therefore, careful screening for malaria parasite is recommended to ensure safe blood. Positive samples should be indicated on blood packs and curative antimalarial drugs followed by prophylactic drugs should be given to all recipients of parasitized blood. Commercial donors should be freely given mosquito treated bed nets and be encouraged to sleep under them.
KEYWORDS: Prevalence, Malaria, Blood Donors, Blood Group, Zaria, Nigeria.

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