Prevalence and Intensity of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria and the Challenges of Microscopy and Rapid Test Diagnosis (RDT) Diagnostic methods in North- Western Nigeria
Aims: The study was undertaken to estimate the prevalence and intensity of Plasmodium falciparum infection, in randomly selected areas of north-western Nigeria and to evaluate the efficiency of microscopy and rapid diagnostic test (RDT) in detecting and determining intensity of P. falciparum infection.
Study Design: The study was conducted in north –western Nigeria, between April and August, 2013.
Methodology: A total of one thousand four hundred and seventy (1,470) blood samples were collected into EDTA sample bottles. Rapid one step malaria HRP2 Rapid test was carried out and stained in Giemsa and examined by thick and thin blood smears using microscope (X 40 objective ) (Cheesbrough, 2016).
Results: A total of eight hundred and thirty four 834(56.5%) cases were positive microscopically while two hundred and eighty seven 287(19.52%) were positive with the RDT which showed high significance (P<0.05) in the efficiency of the diagnostic methods. Low intensity (+) was higher in 542 (36.87%) and different significantly within the states (P<0.05).The RDT showed high specificity of 68.21% while a higher sensitivity of47.68% was observed from the microscopy results which differed significantly (P<0.05) when the two methods were compared.
Conclusion: The results of the study established that P. falciparum malaria was endemic in the region with a level of intensity. Microscopy was the most specific method of falciparum malaria diagnosis.
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