Prevalence of congenital malaria in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria
A cross-sectional study on the prevalence of congenital malaria was carried out at three hospitals within Jos Metropolis from September, 2007 to October, 2008. A total of 310 subjects, comprising of 210 pregnant women (35-40 weeks gestation) and 100 non-pregnant women attending antenatal and post natal clinics respectively were enrolled. Peripheral blood of women and neonates, placental and cord blood were examined for malaria parasites by microscopy using Giemsa stain technique. 137 (65.2%) pregnant women and 40 (40.0%) non-pregnant women were positive for malaria parasitaemia. The difference was significant (p<0.05). Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium malariae were found in the blood of the two groups of women. Malaria parasitaemia in the pregnant women was 76/93 (81.7%) in primigravidae and 61/117 (52.1%) in multigravidae (p<0.05). The prevalence of malaria parasites in peripheral blood of neonates, placenta and cord blood were 10/137 (7.3%), 74/137 (54.0%) and 46/137 (33.6%) respectively. Light 5/7 (71.4%) and moderate 2/7 (28.6%) infections were observed in the peripheral blood of neonates of primigravidae. All 3/3 (100.00%) of the neonates of multigravidae women had light infection, heavy infection was not observed in the neonates of these women. The average birthweights of healthy babies delivered of non-malarious mothers was higher 3.29 kg than 2.42 kg delivered of malarious mothers. Congenital malaria is associated with low birthweight. The study has revealed that there is congenital malaria in the study area and malaria parasitaemia is associated with low birthweight in newborns. Therefore, interventions for the treatment of malaria during pregnancy should be prompt and effective.
Keywords: congenital malaria, pregnant women, birthweight, Jos, Nigeria.