Prevalence and intensity of malaria in blood donors at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria

  • P U Umeanaeto School of Medical Laboratory Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State
  • I M Ekejindu
  • M O Ifeanyichukwu


The risk of transmission of malaria parasites through blood transfusion has been noted. A study was conducted to determine the prevalence and intensity of malaria on healthy blood donors who attended Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, from April to May 2002. Blood samples were collected from 200 blood donors, which comprises of 159 males and 41 females grouped according to age in years. Thick and thin films prepared from the samples were examined and malaria parasites were counted according to the World Health Organisation recommendation. The result shows an overall prevalence rate of 46% for malaria parasitaemia among the blood donors. Females showed a higher prevalence rate (48%) than males (45%). Only Plasmodium falciparum (43%) and Plasmodium malariae (3%) were seen. A higher parasite load of 24.8 x 103 parasites/microlitre of blood was observed among the males than the females with 4.9 x 103 parasites/microlitre of blood. The differences observed were not statistically significant (p>0.05). The age-group 20 years and below and the 51– 60 years had the highest prevalence rate of 50% while the 41-50 years age-group had the least (40%), a difference which is statistically significant (p<0.05). The highest parasite load of 13.6 x 103 parasites/microlitre of blood was observed among the age group 31- 40 years while the least intensity (0.2 x 103 parasites/microlitre of blood) was observed among the age- group 51- 60 years. The frequency of visits was associated with the occupation and educational status of the donors. Apprentices and primary school dropouts constituted the most frequent donors. These differences were between the two donor-groups statistically significant (p<0.05). Screening of blood for malaria parasites prior to transfusion is recommended to avoid transmission of high level of parasites to recipients.

Keywords: Malaria, prevalence, intensity, Nnewi, Nigeria.

Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 27 2006: pp.11-15

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