Prevalence of malaria parasites in children at Vom Christian Hospital, Jos South, Plateau State, Nigeria
Malaria is the most prevalent tropical disease in the world today. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of malaria parasites in children examined at Vom Christian Hospital. Blood samples were collected by finger prick and venipuncture and examined using thick and thin blood film under x100 objective. Out of the 360 children examined, 31(8.6%) were found infected with malaria parasites. The male children (9.8%) were more infected than the females (7.7%) there was no significant difference in prevalence of malaria in relation to gender (p=0.8575). Plasmodium falciparum (71.0%) was the most prevalent malaria parasite encountered in the study-area while P. malariae (29.0%) was least encountered. There was no significant difference of species encountered in relation to gender (p = 0.4985). Children aged between 7-9 years old (20.7%) were significantly (p<0.0001) more infected with malaria parasites, while those aged between 13-15 years old (3.7%) were least infected. Children aged <12 months old were not infected in the study-area. Children with blood Group O, 14(45.1%) had the highest rate of malaria infection, followed by those with blood Group A, 9(29.0%) while blood Group B had the lowest rate, with 3 (9.7%) of the infection. The various blood groups were mostly infected with P. falciparum, but there was no significant difference (p=0.08402) in the prevalence of malaria infection in relation to species and blood group. Children whose parents were farmers, 24(12.0%) were significantly (p<0.0001) more infected with malaria parasites, while those whose parents were civil servants, 2(4.0%) were the least infected. To this end, effective malaria control strategies need to be indoctrinated and public health campaigns carried out to increase awareness in the community and to further reduce the prevalence of malaria in the study- area.
Keywords: Malaria parasites; children; gender; blood group.