Plasmodium falciparum infection remains a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality, causing about 3,000 daily deaths. This study intended to document the prevalence, and the associated factors of P. falciparum infection among febrile patients attending Federal the Medical Centre Keffi, Nigeria.
After ethical clearance, 400 whole blood samples were collected from patients who gave informed consent and completed a self-structured questionnaire from July 2015 through January 2016. The blood samples were examined for the parasitic infection and hematological parameters, using standard laboratory techniques.
The overall prevalence of P. falciparum infection was 227/400 (56.8%). The prevalence with respect to patient's categories was children (68.1%), pregnant women (67.0%), male adult (47.1%) and female adult (42.0%). The infection was high among genotype AA (83.0%), blood group A (90.8%), females (57.7%), rhesus factor positive (57.7%), age < 15 years (72.4%), those who use insecticide-treated mosquito nets (55.8%) and those with PCV range 20-25 (86.7%). Genotype, blood group, and age were statistically associated with P. falciparum (p < 0.05). In this study, categories of patients, gender, rhesus factor, use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and packed cell volume (PCV) ranges were not associated statistically with the infection (p > 0.05).
This study reported a high prevalence of P. falciparum among patients and as such further studies on molecular characterization of the parasite should be carried out in the population. General awareness and continuous laboratory screening of the public to stop the acquisition of the parasite among population are strongly suggested.