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Aim: To investigate malaria parasitaemia and intensity of infection in voluntary blood donors in Port Harcourt Metropolis, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Study Design: The study was a cross sectional survey, cutting across communities, age, sex, occupational and educational groups. A total of 200 voluntary blood donors within the ages of 15 and 65 years, participated in the study.
Duration of Study: The study was conducted between March 2017 and June 2018 at the Department of Pathology, River State University Teaching Hospital, Port-Harcourt.
Methodology: Venous blood was collected from study participants. Thick and thin blood films were made, stained with 10% dilution of Giemsa and blood films examined using microscope.
Results: Of the 200 participants, 151 (75.5%) were males and 49 (24.5%) females. Blood specimens analysis revealed that 57 (28.5%) participants were malaria parasites positive. Among them, 36(63.2%) were males and 21(36.8%) were females. The highest malaria prevalence, 11(42.3%) was observed in Nkporlu community and the least 15(21.1%) in Port-Harcourt Township. Malaria prevalence was highest among the age group of 46-55 years 6(66.7%) and least among age 26-35 years 14(16.7%) which was statistically significant (P<0.05; P=0.000). Artisans and participants with primary education recorded highest prevalence of 6(100%) and 1(100.0%) respectively, while traders and those that attained secondary education had 9(18.8%) and 29(25.4%) respectively. There was a significant difference in malaria prevalence in relation to occupation (P<0.05, P = 0.001) but not with educational status (P > 0.05; P = 0.574). Malaria parasite intensities were mild 31(54.4%), moderate 24(42.1%) and heavy 2(3.5%), although not significant (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Malaria screening should be made compulsory for all prospective blood donors throughout the country, despite the challenges posed by testing capacity constraints.
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