Gestational and placental malaria parasites in pregnant mothers attending the ante-natal clinic of secondary health facility in Owerri, Nigeria
Malaria infection especially with Plasmodium falciparum causes high mortality and morbidity rates among pregnant women in Nigeria. Gestational and placental malaria parasites was assessed using a total of 550 women made of 50 non- pregnant women and 500 pregnant women who attended the antenatal clinic between the months of April and October 2010 at Federal Medical Centre, Owerri. Their blood samples were collected, thick and thin blood smears was made on a grease-free slide and malaria parasitaemia was determined by microscopy after staining with Giemsa. Also other blood parameters including Packed Cell Volume (PCV) and blood group were also determined using WHO standard methods. Personal information including information on gravidity and trimester was obtained through interviews and pre-designed questionnaires. Thirty-nine (39) of the pregnant women were followed-up to the time of delivery to assess for placental malaria and blood was obtained by placental incision for microscopy. The result showed that of the 500 pregnant women, 173 (34.6%) had malaria infection with P. falciparum recording the highest prevalence rate of 31.4%, while only 5(10.0%) of the 50 non-pregnant women had malaria infection. Secundigravidae recorded the highest prevalence rate of 37.3% followed by primigravidae (35.7%) and multigravidae (26.4%) respectively. A higher prevalence rate was also observed in women within the second trimester (39.3%) and those less than 25years of age (37.6%). Women with low packed cell volume (PCV) and those belonging to blood group 0 rhesus ‘D’ negative recorded the highest prevalent rate of 49.4% and 50.0% respectively. Of the 39 pregnant women followed-up to the time of delivery, 23 (59.0%) had placental malaria while 11(28.2%) had peripheral malaria. This study showed that secundigravidae are more prone to malaria infection than other parity. The implication of these findings was discussed and useful recommendations proffered.
Keywords: pregnant women, gestational, placental, malaria, secundigravidae, multigravidae.