Translational Biomedicine

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Malarial infection among patients attending a Nigerian semi-urban based hospital and performance of HRP-2 pf Rapid diagnostic Test (RDT) in screening clinical cases of Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

R. S. Houmsou , E. U. Amuta , T. T. Sar , A. H. Adagba

Background: Malaria is a life threatening disease caused by Plasmodium spp that are transmitted to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. This study was undertaken to determine malarial infection among patients attending General Hospital Gboko, Benue State, Nigeria and evaluate the performance of the Histidine Rich Protein (HRP-2) pf Rapid Diagnosis Test (RDT) in screening clinical cases of  Plasmodium falciparum malaria in a field setting. 

Methods and Findings: The study was conducted between June and October 2010. Thick blood smears were prepared using standard parasitological procedures, other information concerning the patients were obtained using a well structured questionnaire. Prevalence rate of malaria irrespective of Plasmodium species among the patients examined was 39.5% (102/258). Prevalence rate of malarial infection was not significantly different between sexes (χ2 = 0.01, p>0.05), age groups (χ2 = 6.44, p>0.05), educational status (χ2= 6.1, p>0.05) and occupation of the patients examined (χ2= 8.4,  P>0.05). The study also revealed predominance of  Plasmodium falciparummalaria (59.1%) among all the positive cases of malaria. Performance of the HRP-2 pf RDTs showed a sensitivity of 89.5% and specificity of 100% in the area. Conclusion: The results obtained suggested that microscopy remains the gold standard method for diagnosis of malarial infection, although the HRP-2 pf RDTs can be used where microscopy is not available and in cases where urgent malaria diagnosis is needed.