In Nigeria, malaria is endemic with co-morbidities such as dengue, chikungunya, Zika, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS which makes malaria a deadly infection. Malaria accounts for 25% of infant Mortality and 30% of childhood mortality . The use of laboratory methods has become necessary because health workers cannot identify malaria cases reliably using clinical signs and symptoms alone [2,3].
A cross-sectional study of 403 consenting healthy individuals who came to National hospital, Abuja and Nasarawa State University hospital, Keffi for medical examination were recruited from April 2017 through July 2017. The socio-demographic charactersitics of each participant was obtained through oral consultation. Information collected included the sex, age, occupation and locality to which they belonged. The gold standard tool (microscopy) and RDTs were used to determine the prevalence of malaria infection, the Sensitivity and specificity of RDT was compared to Microscopy gold standard.
The prevalence of malaria infection among the 403 subjects was 54.4% and 44.9%. There was a significant difference between the two methods employed (χ2 = 52.171, p < 0.001). The preponderance of malaria in relation to age was highest (78.9%; 4.7%) for ages (above 51 years), those under 20 years demonstrated a pervasiveness of (57.4%; 31.9%) through the two techniques. A prevalence of (64%; 20%) was observed in the age group (41-50 years) and to a lesser extend (54.3%; 28.6%) those years 31-40 years and (52.3%; 43.7%) age 21-30 years. There were no significant differences between all age groups (χ2 = 7.4298, P-value = 0.1148). The detection of malaria infection in relation to diagnostic techniques showed a sensitivity and specificity values of 84.5% and 98.2% compared to Microscopy (standard method) which was 100% for all screened cases.
Symptomatic diagnosis is the most common method of clinical presentation among people of poor resource countries. It should be noted, however, that many other diseases have similar symptoms to malaria and symptomatic diagnosis alone can be misleading and even harmful. Microscopy and RDTs are parts of good clinical practice in the field of medicine and malaria diagnosis, both tools should be employed in the management of malaria treatment and prevention.