Malaria Infection Among Blood Donors in Onitsha Urban, Southeast Nigeria

  • CA Ekwunife
  • NA Ozumba
  • CI Eneanya
  • OC Nwaorgu
Keywords: Blood donors, Commercial donors, Nigeria, Transfusion-transmitted malaria


Blood safety is a major issue of global concern in transfusion medicine especially in developing countries, where national blood transfusion policies and services as well as financial resources are lacking or inadequate. Transfusion-transmitted malaria is a potential health hazard but is often neglected in many malarious areas. Malaria infection among blood donors in Onitsha urban, Southeast Nigeria was studied between August and October 2008. Venous blood of donors was screened for malaria parasites using Giemsa-stained thick and thin blood films. The ABO and Rhesus phenotypes were classified using a haemaglutination standard test and demographic data of donors documented. Of the 410 blood donors analysed, 304 (74.1%) were infected. Plasmodium falciparium was identified in all positive cases and mixed infection with P. malariae was seen in 5(1.6%) cases. Infection significantly varied with age and not with sex and occupation (p<0.05). People with blood group O+ showed significantly higher rate of infection (p<0.05). Since there is scarcity of voluntary donors in Nigeria, donor deferral done in non-malarial endemic regions cannot be practiced in Nigeria. The high prevalence of asymptomatic malaria in this area, suggests the need for careful screening of blood samples for malaria parasites. Positive samples should be indicated on the blood packs and transfusion of malaria positive blood requires the administration of curative dose of antimalarials to the patient. Commercial donors should be freely given mosquito treated bed nets and be encouraged to sleep under them. Keywords: Blood donors, Commercial donors, Nigeria, Transfusion-transmitted malaria

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eISSN: 2076-6270
print ISSN: 2076-6270