Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 171-174

Prevalence of malaria parasitemia amongst asymptomatic pregnant women attending a Nigerian teaching hospital

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Microbiology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Aliyu Y Isah
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.82070

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Background: Malaria parasitemia among pregnant women is associated with complications to mother and the unborn fetus. There is paucity of data on asymptomatic malaria parasitemia, particularly in the northwest region of Nigeria. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of malaria parasitemia in asymptomatic pregnant women and to estimate the packed cell volume (PCV) of this group of pregnant women. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study of only well pregnant women recruited consecutively at the time of booking for antenatal care. Thick film microscopy and qualitative immunoassay test for malaria parasite (MP) were performed for all the women. PCV estimation was also done using the micro-centrifuge method and comparison was made for women with parasitemia with those without MP. Some socio-demographic variables were also analyzed. Chi-square test was used to test for significance and a P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Two hundred and twenty-five healthy pregnant women were studied. Seven women (3.1%) had MP by direct microscopy while 11 (4.8%) were MP positive with the qualitative immunoassay test. One hundred and eighty-five (82%) of the women were literate while 128 (57%) used insecticide treated mosquito nets in their homes. The mean PCV of the women with positive MP was 30.57 ± 2.26 as against 32.89 ± 2.45 for those without parasitemia (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasitemia in the study group was low but there was associated anemia in those with parasitemia. The use of intermittent preventive treatment is recommended for all pregnant women including those who are asymptomatic to forestall complications like maternal anemia.

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