Prevalence Of Asymptomatic Malaria In Selected Communities In Benue State, North Central Nigeria: A Silent Threat To The National Elimination Goal

Article Abstract
Aims: The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria in six of our study communities. A cross sectional survey of 272 apparently healthy symptomless children and adults age 18 months to 55 and above were included in the survey. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), conventional microscopic examination of blood stained films as well as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based technique were used to detect the presence of malaria parasites.Subjects who tested positive were given age appropriate course of artemether/lumefantrine (Combiart) free of charge.

Methods: Venous blood was collected in specimen tubes with ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (Edta) tubes and used for RDT, microscopy and PCR test. Polymerase chain reaction diagnosis was carried out using dry blood spot (DBS) on Whatman filter paper (GE Healthcare, UK, Grade 3 MM CHR CAT No: 3030–861). Results: The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria recorded for rural ranged between 24.9 and 40.1%; urban was 8.8%. There was a significant (p = 00.3 RDT, p = 0.001 microscopy) difference in asymptomatic malaria prevalence between rural and urban malaria as well as with age (p = 0.02).

Conclusion: This study has demonstrated that absence of clinical symptoms and the frank disease does not equate absence of malaria. A community is still at risk of malaria because asymptomatic infections contribute to maintaining transmission of the pathogen. In scaling up to both national and international target, a multifaceted control intervention which should include targeting the parasite reservoir will be needed to actualize the elimination goal in both high and low transmission areas.

Article Citation:

Aju-Ameh C, Awolola S, Mwansat G, Mafuyai H. Prevalence of asymptomatic malaria in selected communities in Benue state, North Central Nigeria: A silent threat to the national elimination goal. Edorium J Epidemiol 2017;3:1–7

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