R. S. Houmsou , E. U. Amuta , T. T. Sar , A. H. Adagba
Background: Malaria is a life threatening disease caused by Plasmodium spp thatÂ are transmitted to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. This study wasÂ undertaken to determine malarial infection among patients attending General Hospital Gboko, Benue State, Nigeria and evaluate the performance of the Histidine RichÂ Protein (HRP-2) pf Rapid Diagnosis Test (RDT) in screening clinical cases of Â Plasmodium falciparum malaria in a field setting.Â
Methods and Findings: The study was conducted between June and OctoberÂ 2010. Thick blood smears were prepared using standard parasitological procedures,Â other information concerning the patients were obtained using a well structuredÂ questionnaire. Prevalence rate of malaria irrespective of Plasmodium species amongÂ the patients examined was 39.5% (102/258). Prevalence rate of malarial infection wasÂ not significantly different between sexes (Ï‡2Â = 0.01, p>0.05), age groups (Ï‡2Â = 6.44,Â p>0.05), educational status (Ï‡2= 6.1, p>0.05) and occupation of the patients examinedÂ (Ï‡2= 8.4, Â P>0.05). The study also revealed predominance of Â Plasmodium falciparummalaria (59.1%) among all the positive cases of malaria. Performance of the HRP-2 pfÂ RDTs showed a sensitivity of 89.5% and specificity of 100% in the area. Conclusion:Â The results obtained suggested that microscopy remains the gold standard methodÂ for diagnosis of malarial infection, although the HRP-2 pf RDTs can be used whereÂ microscopy is not available and in cases where urgent malaria diagnosis is needed.