Subclinical Malaria and Reticulocyte Count in Apparently Healthy Female Undergraduate Students in Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

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Evelyn Mgbeoma Eze
Serekara Gideon Christian
Chialuka Chidubem Akuta


Aims: The study was aimed at determining subclinical malaria and estimating reticulocyte count in apparently healthy female undergraduate students of Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

Study Design:  This is a non-randomized, comparative case-control study.

Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted using female students residing at the hostels of Rivers State University, Port Harcourt. Analysis was carried out at the Haematology Laboratory, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, between July and August, 2018.

Methodology: For the subjects used in this study, a total of 32 students (32%) that were diagnosed of having Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection were used as test subjects, while a total of 68 students (68%) that were diagnosed to be Plasmodium falciparum negative, and without malaria, were used as control. Thick and thin blood films examination using Giemsa staining technique was used to detect and calculate the malaria parasite density while a thin blood film examination using new methylene blue staining technique was used to evaluate the reticulocyte count in the blood.

Results: The reticulocyte count of test subjects (subjects with Plasmodium falciparum malaria) was 0.15 ± 0.04% and that of control subjects (subjects without any malaria parasite) was 0.31 ± 0.08%. The test subjects had significantly lower reticulocyte count (p ˂ 0.0001) than the control subjects. The age range “15-19” years had the highest malaria parasite density of 0.52 ± 0.18%, while “25-29” years had the least parasite density of 0.33 ± 0.24. There was no statistical variation in malaria parasite density according to age ranges (p = 0.13; p ˃ 0.05). However, the age range of “15-19” years had the lowest reticulocyte count as most of the female students within this age group were diagnosed to have been infected with malaria parasite.

Conclusion: This study revealed that reticulocyte counts of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) infected individuals decreased when compared to those without malaria parasite and this decrease was statistically significant. There was no statistical significant variation in malaria parasite density irrespective of age ranges. Prophylaxis for malaria in such settings would be an efficient means of preventing infectious reservoirs and higher rates of subclinical malaria infection.

Subclinical malaria, reticulocyte count, Plasmodium falciparum, female undergraduate

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Mgbeoma Eze, E., Gideon Christian, S., & Chidubem Akuta, C. (2019). Subclinical Malaria and Reticulocyte Count in Apparently Healthy Female Undergraduate Students in Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health, 36(3), 1-10.
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