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Recurrent cycles of fevers and chills are obvious symptoms for malaria disease usually necessitating treatment. However, some Plasmodium infections could be without symptoms, leading to late diagnosis and delayed treatment- seeking behaviours. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria infections, and document associated prevention and treatment-seeking behaviours among literates in Abeokuta. A cross-sectional study design involving 309 attendees at the 2016 World Malaria Day Celebration event held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta was conducted. Finger-prick blood samples were collected for Plasmodium parasite detection by malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) and anthropometric indices such as weight, height and age were also collected to estimate Body-Mass-Index. An already pre-tested questionnaire was also used to collect information on malaria prevention and treatment-seeking behaviours. Data were analysed in SPSS 20.0 software. Results revealed that the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria was 7.4% (23/309), with no significant association between sex, febrile illness and Body Mass Index (p>0.05). Participants aged 15-25 years were more infected with malaria than other age groups. Only 58.3% of the participants have heard of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and about 78% do not have mosquito bed-net. Self-diagnosis for the disease was more common (60.8%) among the participants, compared to other measures; seeking laboratory test (26.5%) and clinical diagnosis (9.1%). A good proportion of the participants (73.1%) rely on Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) drugs for treating malaria, although few others still rely on non-ACT drugs (17.8%), chloroquine (1.9%) and herbs (1.6%). Findings show existence of asymptomatic malaria. Also, access to and utilization of malaria prevention and control commodities is poor among the literates. There is thus a need to intensify efforts in addressing these concerns as we move towards eliminating the disease.
Keywords: Asymptomatic malaria; World Malaria Day; prevalence; Abeokuta; Nigeria