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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 185-192

“Asymptomatic” plasmodium falciparum parasitemia and micronutrient deficiencies among pregnant women in Oyo State

1 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, School of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Mufutau Mosunmade Azeez
Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Lead City University, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bbrj.bbrj_255_21

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Background: Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia coupled with nutritional deficiencies, especially relating to micronutrients in pregnancy, may be a recipe for adverse pregnancy outcomes. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of asymptomatic P. falciparum infection and some micronutrient deficiencies among pregnant women in Oyo State. Methods: Three hundred and sixteen pregnant women aged 16–45 years and 100 apparently healthy nonpregnant women of the same age range serving as controls from the 3 senatorial districts of Oyo State were enrolled in this study after obtaining their consent. Blood samples were collected and examined for P. falciparum using RDT kit and Giemsa-stained film microscopy while the selected micronutrients – calcium, iron, copper, and zinc – were assayed with atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Results: P. falciparum was detected in 82 out of the 316 pregnant women studied representing a percentage prevalence of 25.95 while the prevalence rate was 1% (1 out of 100) among the nonpregnant control women (P < 0.0001). Factors that significantly impacted on P. falciparum prevalence were pregnancy status, age, gestational age, parity, and seasonal variations. Out of the 316 pregnant women studied, 27 (8.5%) and 35 (11.1%) were deficient in calcium and iron, respectively. However, 13 of the 82 parasitemic pregnant women (15.85%) had calcium micronutrient deficiency, with only 14 out 234 (5.98%) observed in nonparasitemic pregnant women (P < 0.0001). While 10 (12.19%) had iron deficiency among the parasitemic pregnant women, 25 (10.68%) had iron deficiency among the nonparasitemic pregnant women. The only parasitemic nonpregnant control out of the 100 had calcium and iron micronutrient deficiencies (100%) as against 24.24% and 20.24%, respectively, in nonparasitemic controls. Copper and zinc micronutrient deficiencies were not observed among the study subjects. Conclusion: Continuous health education with emphasis on compliance to dietary instructions and malaria prevention measures, monitoring parasitemic pregnant women till delivery, and including malaria testing in the routine laboratory tests for antenatal care are hereby advocated.

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