Prevalence of malaria parasite and its effects on some hematological parameters amongst pregnant women in Yola, Nigeria
Background: Malaria infection during pregnancy presents a substantial health threat, adversely impacting both the mother and fetus. Its pathogenesis and clinical consequences further complicate diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, particularly in endemic regions. The precise impact of malaria infection on hematological profiles needs to be clearly elucidated, and the occurrence of malaria in expectant mothers still needs to be explored. Consequently, this study aims to assess the prevalence of malaria infection among pregnant women as well as to investigate and correlate the effects of this infection on the hematological parameters of pregnant women in Yola, Nigeria. Methods: A structured hybrid questionnaire was used to gather socio-demographic, clinical, and obstetric data from 100 pregnant women aged 15–45 years. Malaria parasitemia was determined and confirmed using a light microscope, blood smear-staining techniques, and rapid diagnostic tests (RDT). At the same time, the packed cell volume (PCV) was measured using a microhematocrit reader. Also, the complete blood count was determined using Turk’s solution and Neubauer’s counting chamber (hemocytometer). Results: Out of the 100 participants in the study, 76 tested positive for malaria, resulting in a prevalence rate of 76%. The age group between 30 and 34 years and multigravida recorded high values of malaria-infected women, accounting for 18 (23.7%) and 49%, respectively. Also, the study’s findings indicate that malaria-infected pregnant women had a significantly higher occurrence of anemia than those not infected (P = .045). In addition, eosinophil counts, total white blood cells (WBC), and neutrophil count were notably higher in pregnant women infected by malaria compared to those not infected (P < .05). Conversely, lymphocyte count, basophil count, and monocyte count were significantly lower in pregnant women infected by malaria compared to uninfected pregnant women. Conclusion: Pregnant women participating in prenatal care at the Specialist Hospital in Yola, Nigeria, exhibited a relatively high occurrence of malaria parasite infection, and these infected pregnant women displayed a notable change in specific hematological parameters. The findings of this study offer valuable insights into the pathogenesis of malaria during pregnancy and contribute to improved diagnostic and management strategies for pregnant women at risk of malaria infection.