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1.  What is the best strategy for the prevention of transfusion-transmitted malaria in sub-Saharan African countries where malaria is endemic? 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:465.
The transmission of malaria by blood transfusion was one of the first recorded incidents of transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs). Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that blood for transfusion should be screened for TTIs, malaria screening is not performed in most malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The transfusion of infected red blood cells may lead to severe post-transfusion clinical manifestations of malaria, which could be rapidly fatal. Ensuring that blood supply in endemic countries is free from malaria is highly problematical, as most of the donors may potentially harbour low levels of malaria parasites. Pre-transfusion screening within endemic settings has been identified as a cost-effective option for prevention of transfusion-transmitted malaria (TTM). But currently, there is no screening method that is practical, affordable and suitably sensitive for use by blood banks in SSA. Even if this method was available, rejection of malaria-positive donors would considerably jeopardize the blood supply and increase morbidity and mortality, especially among pregnant women and children who top the scale of blood transfusion users in SSA. In this context, the systematic prophylaxis of recipients with anti-malarials could constitute a good alternative, as it prevents any deferral of donor units as well as the occurrence of TTM. With the on-going programme, namely the Affordable Medicine Facility - Malaria, there is an increase in the availability of low-priced artemisinin-based combination therapy that can be used for systematic prophylaxis. It appears nonetheless an urgent need to conduct cost-benefit studies in order to evaluate each of the TTM preventive methods. This approach could permit the design and implementation of an evidence-based measure of TTM prevention in SSA, advocating thereby its widespread use in the region.
PMCID: PMC3877868  PMID: 24373501
Malaria; Blood transfusion; Transfusion-transmitted malaria; Sub-Saharan Africa
Transfusion  2009;49(11):2335-2345.
Deferral for travel to malaria-endemic areas excludes many blood donors in the United States. Most transfusion-transmitted malaria is associated with lengthy residence in malaria-endemic areas rather than routine travel. This study compares the impact of existing deferral requirements to the risk that a presenting donor with malaria travel history harbors malaria parasites under current and hypothetical alternate regulations.
Deferred donors from six blood centers were sampled to estimate a national cohort of donors deferred annually for malaria travel to different geographic regions. Risk for malaria infection following travel to each region, and distribution of incubation periods for each malaria species were estimated for U.S. travelers. Region-specific travel risks were used to estimate the risk that a presenting blood donor with malaria travel might asymptomatically harbor malaria parasites at different intervals following return to the United States.
Travel to Africa presents risk for malaria infection >1000 times that of travel to malaria-endemic parts of Mexico, yet Mexico accounts for >10 times as many deferred donors. Shortening the deferral period from 12 to 3 months for travelers to Mexico increases the risk of collecting a contaminated unit by only 1 unit per 57 years (sensitivity analysis, 1 every 29 - 114 years), at annual gain of >56,000 donations.
This study provides the first systematic appraisal of the U.S. requirements for donor qualification regarding travel to malarial areas. Consideration should be given to relaxing the guidelines for travel to very low-risk areas such as Mexico.
PMCID: PMC2777701  PMID: 19903290
Plasmodium; malaria; blood donor; deferral; malaria travel; transfusion transmitted disease
3.  Impact of Inconsistent Policies for Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria on Clinical Practice in Ghana 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34201.
Policies concerning the prevention of transfusion transmitted malaria (TTM) are the responsibility of blood transfusion services and malaria control programmes. To prevent spreading drug resistance due to over-use of malaria drugs, recent malaria treatment guidelines recommend prompt parasitological confirmation before treatment is started. In contrast, blood safety policies from the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend presumptive malaria treatment for recipients of blood in endemic countries but evidence supporting this approach is lacking. Our study documented how these conflicting policies relating to malaria transmission through blood transfusion impact on clinical practice in a teaching hospital in West Africa.
Methods/Principal Findings
We randomly selected and reviewed case notes of 151 patients within 24 hours of their receiving a blood transfusion. Transfusion practices including the confirmation of diagnosis and anti-malarial treatment given were compared across three departments; Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G), Paediatrics and Medicine. Overall, 66 (44%) of patients received malaria treatment within 24 hrs of their blood transfusion; of which only 2 (3%) received anti-malarials based on a laboratory confirmation of malaria. Paediatric patients (87%) received the most anti-malarials and only 7% and 24% of recipients in medicine and O&G respectively received anti malarials. In 51 patients (78%), the anti-malarials were prescribed at the same time as the blood transfusion and anti-malarials prescriptions exceeded the number of patients with a presumptive diagnosis of malaria.
It is common practice in paediatrics to prescribe anti-malarials routinely with blood transfusions. This contravenes the malaria treatment guidelines of laboratory confirmation before treatment but is in accordance with the less-well evidenced blood safety guidelines. There is an urgent need for more evidence about the clinical impact of transfusion transmitted malaria to enable malaria and blood transfusion programmes to harmonize their policies and give clear guidance to clinicians who prescribe blood transfusions in malaria-endemic areas
PMCID: PMC3313967  PMID: 22479564
4.  A case report of transfusion-transmitted Plasmodium malariae from an asymptomatic non-immune traveller 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:439.
The incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria is very low in non-endemic countries due to strict donor selection. The optimal strategy to mitigate the risk of transfusion-transmitted malaria in non-endemic countries without unnecessary exclusion of blood donations is, however, still debated and asymptomatic carriers of Plasmodium species may still be qualified to donate blood for transfusion purposes.
Case description
In April 2011, a 59-year-old Dutch woman with spiking fevers for four days was diagnosed with a Plasmodium malariae infection. The patient had never been abroad, but nine weeks before, she had received red blood cell transfusion for anaemia. The presumptive diagnosis of transfusion-transmitted quartan malaria was made and subsequently confirmed by retrospective PCR analysis of donor blood samples. The donor was a 36-year-old Dutch male who started donating blood in May 2006. His travel history outside Europe included a trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar in 2005, to Thailand in 2006 and to Costa Rica in 2007. He only used malaria prophylaxis during his travel to Africa. The donor did not show any abnormalities upon physical examination in 2011, while laboratory examination demonstrated a thrombocytopenia of 126 × 109/L as the sole abnormal finding since 2007. Thick blood smear analysis and the Plasmodium PCR confirmed an ongoing subclinical P. malariae infection. Chloroquine therapy was started, after which the infection cleared and thrombocyte count normalized. Fourteen other recipients who received red blood cells from the involved donor were traced. None of them developed malaria symptoms.
This case demonstrates that P. malariae infections in non-immune travellers may occur without symptoms and persist subclinically for years. In addition, this case shows that these infections pose a threat to transfusion safety when subclinically infected persons donate blood after their return in a non-endemic malaria region.
Since thrombocytopenia was the only abnormality associated with the subclinical malaria infection in the donor, this case illustrates that an unexplained low platelet count after a visit to malaria-endemic countries may be an indicator for asymptomatic malaria even when caused by non-falciparum Plasmodium species.
PMCID: PMC3866504  PMID: 24304475
Malaria; Blood transfusion; Blood safety; Blood donor screening; Plasmodium malariae; Transfusion-transmitted malaria; Blood-borne; Infection; Thrombocytopenia; Asymptomatic malaria; Look-back
5.  No asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia found among 108 young children at one health facility in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:417.
Asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia has been reported in areas with high malaria transmission. It may serve as a reservoir for continued transmission, and furthermore complicates diagnostics, as not all individuals with a positive malaria test are necessarily ill due to malaria, although they may present with malaria-like symptoms. Asymptomatic malaria increases with age as immunity to malaria gradually develops. As mortality and morbidity of malaria is higher among younger children it is important to know the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia in this population in order to interpret laboratory results for malaria correctly.
A total of 108 children that had neither been treated for malaria nor had a fever the previous four weeks were recruited consecutively at a maternal and child health clinic (MCHC) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for malaria and dried blood spot (DBS) on filter paper were taken from each child. Social and clinical data were recorded. DNA was extracted from the DBS of study participants by a method using InstaGene™ matrix. PCR targeting the Plasmodium mitochondrial genome was performed on all samples.
Median age was 4.6 months (range 0.5-38). All the RDTs were negative. PCR was negative for all study subjects.
The study suggests that asymptomatic malaria may not be present in apparently healthy children up to the age of three years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. However, because of the small sample size and low median age of the study population, the findings cannot be generalized. Larger studies, including higher age groups, need to be done to clarify whether asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia is present in the general population in the Dar es Salaam area.
PMCID: PMC3830543  PMID: 24228811
Malaria; Asymptomatic infection; Dried blood spots
6.  Detection of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax subclinical infection in non-endemic region: implications for blood transfusion and malaria epidemiology 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:224.
In Brazil, malaria is endemic in the Amazon River basin and non-endemic in the extra-Amazon region, which includes areas of São Paulo state. In this state, a number of autochthonous cases of malaria occur annually, and the prevalence of subclinical infection is unknown. Asymptomatic infections may remain undetected, maintaining transmission of the pathogen, including by blood transfusion. In these report it has been described subclinical Plasmodium infection in blood donors from a blood transfusion centre in São Paulo, Brazil.
In this cross-sectional study, representative samples of blood were obtained from 1,108 healthy blood donors at the Fundação Pró-Sangue Hemocentro de São Paulo, the main blood transfusion centre in São Paulo. Malaria exposure was defined by the home region (exposed: forest region; non-exposed: non-forest region). Real-time PCR was used to detect Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Subclinical malaria cases were geo-referenced.
Eighty-four (7.41%) blood donors tested positive for Plasmodium; 57 of these were infected by P. falciparum, 25 by P. vivax, and 2 by both. The prevalence of P. falciparum and P. vivax was 5.14 and 2.26, respectively. The overall prevalence ratio (PR) was 3.23 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.03, 5.13); P. falciparum PR was 16.11 (95% CI 5.87, 44.21) and P. vivax PR was 0.47 (95% CI 0.2, 1.12). Plasmodium falciparum subclinical malaria infection in the Atlantic Forest domain was present in the mountain regions while P. vivax infection was observed in cities from forest-surrounded areas.
The presence of Plasmodium in healthy blood donors from a region known as non-endemic, which is important in the context of transfusion biosafety, was described. Infected recipients may become asymptomatic carriers and a reservoir for parasites, maintaining their transmission. Furthermore, P. falciparum PR was positively associated with the forest environment, and P. vivax was associated with forest fragmentation.
PMCID: PMC4059091  PMID: 24906577
Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium vivax; Subclinical infection; Blood center; Transfusion; Prevalence ratio; Dynamics of malaria transmission
7.  Comparative evaluation of two rapid field tests for malaria diagnosis: Partec Rapid Malaria Test® and Binax Now® Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:143.
About 90% of all malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa occur in children under five years. Fast and reliable diagnosis of malaria requires confirmation of the presence of malaria parasites in the blood of patients with fever or history suggestive of malaria; hence a prompt and accurate diagnosis of malaria is the key to effective disease management. Confirmation of malaria infection requires the availability of a rapid, sensitive, and specific testing at an affordable cost. We compared two recent methods (the novel Partec Rapid Malaria Test® (PT) and the Binax Now® Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (BN RDT) with the conventional Giemsa stain microscopy (GM) for the diagnosis of malaria among children in a clinical laboratory of a hospital in a rural endemic area of Ghana.
Blood samples were collected from 263 children admitted with fever or a history of fever to the pediatric clinic of the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital. The three different test methods PT, BN RDT and GM were performed independently by well trained and competent laboratory staff to assess the presence of malaria parasites. Results were analyzed and compared using GM as the reference standard.
In 107 (40.7%) of 263 study participants, Plasmodium sp. was detected by GM. PT and BN RDT showed positive results in 111 (42.2%) and 114 (43.4%), respectively. Compared to GM reference standard, the sensitivities of the PT and BN RDT were 100% (95% CI: 96.6-100) and 97.2% (95% CI: 92.0-99.4), respectively, specificities were 97.4% (95% CI: 93.6-99.3) and 93.6% (95% CI: 88.5-96.9), respectively. There was a strong agreement (kappa) between the applied test methods (GM vs PT: 0.97; p < 0.001 and GM vs BN RDT: 0.90; p < 0.001). The average turnaround time per tests was 17 minutes.
In this study two rapid malaria tests, PT and BN RDT, demonstrated a good quality of their performance compared to conventional GM. Both methods require little training, have short turnaround times, are applicable as well as affordable and can therefore be considered as alternative diagnostic tools in malaria endemic areas. The species of Plasmodium cannot be identified.
PMCID: PMC3118144  PMID: 21605401
8.  Immunological testing for malaria and blood donor deferral: the experience of the Ca’ Granda Polyclinic Hospital in Milan 
Blood Transfusion  2011;9(2):162-166.
Current European regulations require a deferral period of 6 months or 3 years, depending on the risk of exposure, for prospective blood donors at risk of malaria. This period may be reduced to 4 months if an immunological or molecular genomic test is negative at each donation, but Italian regulations have not adopted this provision. As cases of transfusion-transmitted malaria have been recorded in medical literature in blood donors deferred for 3 years and not tested, the Immunohaematology and Transfusion Centre of the Ca’ Grande Polyclinic Hospital in Milan decided to introduce immunological testing for all donors at risk of malaria.
Materials and methods.
Four hundred and twelve blood donors at risk of malaria, who had lived in a malarial area during the first 5 years of life or for more than 6 consecutive months, were tested for malarial antibodies using an enzyme immunoassay kit. The kit (Malaria EIA, Newmarket, UK) uses four recombinant antigens specific for P. falciparum and P. vivax and with cross-reactivity for P. ovale and P. malariae. The kit detects total immunoglobulin antibodies against P. falciparum and P. vivax and shows 80% cross-reactivity with P. ovale and 67% with P. malariae. Antibody-positive samples were further checked by an immunochromatographic test for P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae antigens and by haemoscopy (thin film and thick smear).
Italian citizens accounted for 16.8% (69/412) of the whole group of donors examined. We found that 8.7% of the donors who were classified as being at risk of malaria were positive for total immunoglobulin antibodies. Only one Italian citizen resulted positive for the test. The positive candidates were deferred from blood donation. None of the antibody-positive donors was confirmed positive by the immunochromatographic test and by haemoscopy.
The introduction of a malarial screening test in the assessment of blood donor eligibility may increase the safety of blood donations, but could further reduce blood availability. If immunological testing were to be accepted nationally as a valid method of assessing the risk of malaria, more than 90% of the donors who are currently deferred for 3 years could be accepted 4 months after their last visit to an endemic area, thus increasing the availability of blood
PMCID: PMC3096859  PMID: 21251462
transfusion-transmitted malaria; enzyme immunoassay; donor’s risk
9.  Detection of Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae Merozoite Surface Protein 1-p19 Antibodies in Human Malaria Patients and Experimentally Infected Nonhuman Primates ▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2010;17(10):1631-1638.
Approximately 3.2 billion people live in areas where malaria is endemic, and WHO estimates that 350 to 500 million malaria cases occur each year worldwide. This high prevalence, and the high frequency of international travel, creates significant risk for the exportation of malaria to countries where malaria is not endemic and for the introduction of malaria organisms into the blood supply. Since all four human infectious Plasmodium species have been transmitted by blood transfusion, we sought to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) capable of detecting antibodies elicited by infection with any of these species. The merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1), a P. falciparum and P. vivax vaccine candidate with a well-characterized immune response, was selected for use in the assay. The MSP1 genes from P. ovale and P. malariae were cloned and sequenced (L. Birkenmeyer, A. S. Muerhoff, G. Dawson, and S. M. Desai, Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 82:996-1003, 2010), and the carboxyl-terminal p19 regions of all four species were expressed in Escherichia coli. Performance results from individual p19 ELISAs were compared to those of a commercial test (Lab 21 Healthcare Malaria enzyme immunoassay [EIA]). The commercial ELISA detected all malaria patients with P. falciparum or P. vivax infections, as did the corresponding species-specific p19 ELISAs. However, the commercial ELISA detected antibodies in 0/2 and 5/8 individuals with P. malariae and P. ovale infections, respectively, while the p19 assays detected 100% of individuals with confirmed P. malariae or P. ovale infections. In experimentally infected nonhuman primates, the use of MSP1-p19 antigens from all four species resulted in the detection of antibodies within 2 to 10 weeks postinfection. Use of MSP1-p19 antigens from all four Plasmodium species in a single immunoassay would provide significantly improved efficacy compared to existing tests.
PMCID: PMC2953000  PMID: 20702658
10.  Increased use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests improves targeting of anti-malarial treatment in rural Tanzania: implications for nationwide rollout of malaria rapid diagnostic tests 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:221.
The World Health Organization recommends parasitological confirmation of all malaria cases. Tanzania is implementing a phased rollout of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for routine use in all levels of care as one strategy to increase parasitological confirmation of malaria diagnosis. This study was carried out to evaluated artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) prescribing patterns in febrile patients with and without uncomplicated malaria in one pre-RDT implementation and one post-RDT implementation area.
A cross-sectional health facility surveys was conducted during high and low malaria transmission seasons in 2010 in both areas. Clinical information and a reference blood film on all patients presenting for an initial illness consultation were collected. Malaria was defined as a history of fever in the past 48 h and microscopically confirmed parasitaemia. Routine diagnostic testing was defined as RDT or microscopy ordered by the health worker and performed at the health facility as part of the health worker-patient consultation. Correct diagnostic testing was defined as febrile patient tested with RDT or microscopy. Over-testing was defined as a non-febrile patient tested with RDT or microscopy. Correct treatment was defined as patient with malaria prescribed ACT. Over-treatment was defined as patient without malaria prescribed ACT.
A total of 1,247 febrile patients (627 from pre-implementation area and 620 from post-implementation area) were included in the analysis. In the post-RDT implementation area, 80.9% (95% CI, 68.2-89.3) of patients with malaria received recommended treatment with ACT compared to 70.3% (95% CI, 54.7-82.2) of patients in the pre-RDT implementation area. Correct treatment was significantly higher in the post-implementation area during high transmission season (85.9% (95%CI, 72.0-93.6) compared to 58.3% (95%CI, 39.4-75.1) in pre-implementation area (p = 0.01). Over-treatment with ACT of patients without malaria was less common in the post-RDT implementation area (20.9%; 95% CI, 14.7-28.8) compared to the pre-RDT implementation area (45.8%; 95% CI, 37.2-54.6) (p < 0.01) in high transmission. The odds of overtreatment was significantly lower in post- RDT area (adjusted Odds Ratio (OR: 95%CI) 0.57(0.36-0.89); and much higher with clinical diagnosis adjusted OR (95%CI) 2.24(1.37-3.67)
Implementation of RDTs increased use of RDTs for parasitological confirmation and reduced over-treatment with ACT during high malaria transmission season in one area in Tanzania. Continued monitoring of the national RDT rollout will be needed to assess whether these changes in case management practices will be replicated in other areas and sustained over time. Additional measures (such as refresher trainings, closer supervisions, etc.) may be needed to improve ACT targeting during low transmission seasons.
PMCID: PMC3471012  PMID: 22747655
Malaria rapid diagnostic tests; ACT; HDSS; INDEPTH network; Tanzania
11.  Management of imported malaria in Europe 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:328.
In this position paper, the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Study Group on Clinical Parasitology, summarizes main issues regarding the management of imported malaria cases. Malaria is a rare diagnosis in Europe, but it is a medical emergency. A travel history is the key to suspecting malaria and is mandatory in patients with fever. There are no specific clinical signs or symptoms of malaria although fever is seen in almost all non-immune patients. Migrants from malaria endemic areas may have few symptoms.
Malaria diagnostics should be performed immediately on suspicion of malaria and the gold- standard is microscopy of Giemsa-stained thick and thin blood films. A Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) may be used as an initial screening tool, but does not replace urgent microscopy which should be done in parallel. Delays in microscopy, however, should not lead to delayed initiation of appropriate treatment. Patients diagnosed with malaria should usually be hospitalized. If outpatient management is preferred, as is the practice in some European centres, patients must usually be followed closely (at least daily) until clinical and parasitological cure. Treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria is either with oral artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) or with the combination atovaquone/proguanil. Two forms of ACT are available in Europe: artemether/lumefantrine and dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine. ACT is also effective against Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi, but these species can be treated with chloroquine. Treatment of persistent liver forms in P. vivax and P. ovale with primaquine is indicated after excluding glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. There are modified schedules and drug options for the treatment of malaria in special patient groups, such as children and pregnant women. The potential for drug interactions and the role of food in the absorption of anti-malarials are important considerations in the choice of treatment.
Complicated malaria is treated with intravenous artesunate resulting in a much more rapid decrease in parasite density compared to quinine. Patients treated with intravenous artesunate should be closely monitored for haemolysis for four weeks after treatment. There is a concern in some countries about the lack of artesunate produced according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
PMCID: PMC3489857  PMID: 22985344
12.  Seroprevalence of HBV and HCV in blood donors: A study from regional blood transfusion services of Nepal 
Background and Objective:
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are significant health problems that might involve the late sequel of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. A high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in blood donors poses an increased risk of window period transmission through blood transfusion. The present study aimed to know the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among blood donors in regional blood transfusion services of Nepal.
Materials and Methods:
This was a retrospective study conducted among blood donors in Banke (5,211), Morang (5,351), and Kaski (5,995) blood transfusion services. Serum samples were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies using rapid enzyme immunoassays. The donors information was collected via the donor record register through their respective blood transfusion services. The software “Winpepi ver 3.8” was used for statistical analysis.
The seroprevalence rate of HBV was highest in the Banke (1.2%) followed by Biratnagar (0.87%) and Kaski (0.35%) (P < 0.0001). The seroprevalence of HCV was highest in the Morang (0.26%) followed by Kaski (0.16%) and Banke (0.11%) (P > 0.05). The seroprevalence of HBV was significantly higher than HCV in all three blood transfusion services. The burden of HBV as well as HCV seems to be higher in male donors (P > 0.05).
The study revealed that the seroprevalence of HBV was alarmingly higher in two of the three blood transfusion services. Implementation of community-based preventive measures and improved strategies for safe blood supply might prove useful to decrease the seroprevalence.
PMCID: PMC2937303  PMID: 20859506
Blood donors; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; Nepal; seroprevalence
13.  Malaria relevance and diagnosis in febrile Burkina Faso travellers: a prospective study 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:270.
There is a lack of information regarding the epidemiology of malaria among travellers from non-malaria endemic countries to Sahelian areas. The literature provides general statistics about imported malaria in industrialized countries or extensive recommendations about fever management, but none of these recommendations are applicable to developing countries.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the aetiologies of fever, malaria prevalence, and best diagnostic methods in a population of 306 non-malaria endemic travellers who, over a one-year period, consulted the French embassy’s Centre Médico-Social in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) for fever. All patients underwent a clinical examination, a questionnaire, and three different malaria tests: thick blood film, QBC-test and HRP-2-based rapid diagnostic test.
Fever was caused by malaria in 69 cases (23%), while 37 (12%) were due to Pneumonia and 35 cases (8%) to ENT infections. Fever remained unexplained in 87 patients (51.3%). Malaria prevalence varied throughout the year: about 90% of malaria cases were diagnosed during and after the rainy season, between July and December, with up to 50% malaria prevalence for fever cases in October. Malaria diagnosis based solely on clinical signs, combined or not, leads to about 80% of unnecessary treatments.Although anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis was used in only 69% of short-stay patients (who travelled for less than three months), this was effective. Under local conditions, and using blood film examination as the reference method, the QBC test appeared to be more reliable than the HRP-2-based rapid diagnostic test, with respective sensitivities of 98.6% versus 84.1%, and specificities of 99.6% versus 98.3%.
Reliable biological diagnosis of malaria among travellers from non-malaria endemic countries in Sahelian areas is necessary because of low malaria prevalence and the poor performance of clinical diagnosis. A fever during the first half of the year requires investigating another aetiology, particularly a respiratory one. Malaria chemoprophylaxis is efficient and must not be overlooked. The QBC test appears to be the most reliable diagnostic test in this context.
PMCID: PMC3751538  PMID: 23914804
Malaria; QBC; HRP2; Fever; Burkina Faso
14.  Blood Transfusion Transmitted Infections in Multiple Blood Transfused Patients of Beta Thalassaemia 
Transfusion Transmitted Infection (TTI) continue to be a problem in many parts of world and multi-transfused patients of beta thalassaemia major are at a particularly increased risk of TTI. This study is aimed to estimate the prevalence of blood TTI in multiple blood transfused patients of beta thalassaemia major. Cross-sectional study of 200 multi-transfused patients of beta thalassaemia major, who were interviewed using a structured questionnaire and history was taken regarding sero-status of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), HBV (Hepatitis B Virus), HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) infection from their case papers. This study was conducted at the department of Pathology, M.P. Shah medical college, Jamnagar and Thalassemia ward, G.G. Hospital, Jamnagar (Gujarat, India) from March to May 2010. Out of 200 multiple blood transfused patients 7% patients were infected with TTI. Total 9 male patients and 5 female patients were infected with TTI. The seroreactivity for HIV was 3% (06/200); 1% (02/200) were males and 2% (04/200) were females. The seroreactivity for HBV was 2% (04/200) all were males. The seroreactivity for HCV was 2% (04/200); 1.5% (03/200) were males and 0.5% (01/200) was female. HIV, HBV, HCV infections are most prevalent TTI among multiple blood transfused patients of beta thalassemia major, and remains a major health problem for these patients.
PMCID: PMC3136674  PMID: 22654294
Transfusion transmitted infection; Multiple blood transfused patients of beta thalassemia major; Human immunodeficiency virus; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus
15.  Seroprevalence of Cytomegalovirus Among Some Voluntary Blood Donors at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana 
Ghana Medical Journal  2006;40(3):99-104.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the most significant pathogens infecting immunosuppressed individuals. CMV is transmissible through transfusion of blood components.
The goal of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of antibodies to CMV among blood donors seen at the 37 Military Hospital Blood Transfusion Unit, (MHBTU) Accra, Ghana.
The seroprevalence of antibodies specific for CMV was tested using CMV IgG/IgM particle agglutination test kit and ELISA.
Of the 264 blood donors, 18 were negative and 246 were positive for CMV IgG antibodies, giving an overall CMV prevalence rate of 93.2%. None of the 264 blood donors was positive for CMV IgM antibodies. About 96% of the donors aged between 30 to 39 years were seropositive for CMV, as against 91.9% in those aged 20–29 years, 88.6% in 40 to 49 years, 75.0% (3 out of 4) in 50 to 59 years, and 100% (1 out 1) in 60–69 years. There was no statistically significant difference (P>0.05) in the CMV IgG status in different age groups. The blood donors comprised largely of male donors (236 out of 264), making sex comparisons statistically undesirable. However, all the female (n=28) donors were positive for CMV IgG.
Since about 93% of blood donors at the MHBTU are seropositive for CMV, it would be very useful to screen blood donors in Ghana for CMV to identify the very few CMV-seronegative blood donors, and maintain an inventory of them for use as donors.
PMCID: PMC1790848  PMID: 17299575
Cytomegalovirus; blood donors; seroprevalence
16.  Seroprevalence of Hepatitis E Virus infection among volunteer blood donors in central province of Iran in 2012 
Iranian Journal of Microbiology  2013;5(2):172-176.
Background and Objectives
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a major public health concern in developing countries. HEV transmission occurs primarily by the fecal-oral route. It has also been reported that blood donors are potentially able to cause transfusion-associated hepatitis E in endemic areas. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of HEV infection among volunteer blood donors in Central province of Iran in 2012.
Material and Methods
A total of 530 consecutive blood donor samples collected from Blood Transfusion Organization, Central Province of Iran. All samples were tested for the presence of IgG Hepatitis E antibody (anti-HEV) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
From 530 blood donors, 91.9% were male and 8.1% were female. Overall, anti-HEV was found in 76 of 530 samples (14.3%). There was no significant difference in HEV seropositivity between the subjects regarding gender and area of residence (urban vs. rural). Anti-HEV was distributed among all age groups. Although people aged 31-50 years had the highest prevalence, but there was no statistical difference between the age groups.
This study shows a relatively high prevalence of anti-HEV in the blood donors of Central province of Iran. More investigations are needed to assess the potential benefit of adding HEV screening of blood products to the current blood donor selection criteria.
PMCID: PMC3696855  PMID: 23825737
Hepatitis E virus (HEV); Seroprevalence; Blood donor
17.  HIV, HBV, HCV and T. pallidum infections among blood donors and Transfusion-related complications among recipients at the Laquintinie hospital in Douala, Cameroon 
BMC Hematology  2014;14:5.
Transfusion-transmissible infections (TTIs) pose a major health risk in Cameroon given the high prevalence of such pathogens and increased demands for blood donations in the local communities. This study aims at establishing the prevalence of commonly encountered TTIs among blood donors and transfusion-related complications among recipients in an urban center of Cameroon.
A total of 477 blood donors and 83 blood recipients were recruited by consecutive sampling at the Laquintinie Hospital in Douala (LHD), Cameroon. Serum samples from blood donors were tested by quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and/or using various Rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for presence of Hepatits B (HBV) viral antigens, and antibodies to human immunodeficiency (HIV-1/2), Hepatits B (HCV) and Treponema pallidum. Recipient’s medical records were also analyzed for possible transfusion-associated complications.
The male/female sex ratio of the blood donors was 4/1 with a mean age of 30.2 (Sd = 8.3) years. Of all blood donors, 64/467 (13.7%) were infected by at least one of the four TTIs. Infected volunteer donors represented 8.3% while infected family donors comprised 14.3% of the donor population. The prevalence of HCV, HIV, HBV and T. pallidum were 1.3%, 1.8%, 3.5%, and 8.1%, respectively. More than half of the blood recipients were female (78.3%) and the mean age was 20.6 (SD = 16.1) years. The causes of severe anemia indicative of transfusion in recipients varied with wards (postpartum hemorrhage, caesarean section, uterine or cervical lacerations, abortions, urinary tract infections, severe malaria, vaso-occlusive attacks, wounds and gastrointestinal bleeding). The most frequent complications were chills and hematuria, which represented 46.1% of all observed complications. Other complications such as nausea, vomiting, jaundice, sudden diarrhea, anxiety, tachycardia, or hyperthermia were also found in recipients. Three cases of deaths occurred during the study, including a girl of less than one year.
This study confirms the presence of blood-borne infectious diseases in blood donors at the LHD, identifying T. pallidum as the greatest threat to blood safety in the region, and hematuria as the most common immunological complications in blood recipients.
PMCID: PMC3944961  PMID: 24517107
Blood transfusion; HIV; HBV; HCV; T. pallidum; Complications
18.  Potential risk of induced malaria by blood transfusion in South-eastern Nigeria 
Induced malaria by blood transfusion is a potential health hazard but is often neglected in many malaria endemic areas. Standard parasitological technique was used to determine the prevalence of malaria among blood donors in the South-eastern Nigeria. Of the total 325 blood donors (310 males and 15 females) screened, 133 (40.9%, CI 95%: 35.6–46.2%) were infected with malaria parasite, 78 (58.6%) had 1–10 parasites per 100 thick film fields (‘+’ or 4–40 parasites per mm3) while 55 (41.4%) had 11–100 parasites per 100 thick film fields (‘++’ or 41–400 parasites per mm3). P. falciparum was identified in all the infected cases, however 3 (2.3%) persons had mixed infection with P. malariae. Males were more infected (41.3%, CI 95%: 35.8–46.8%) than females (33.3%, CI 95%: 9.4–57.2%). The infection decreased with age with highest prevalence of 48.5% among those aged 20–25 years. The infection significantly varied with age but not with sex (P<0.05). Individuals with blood group B were slightly more infected (42.1%, 95%CI., 19.6–64.6%) than those of groups O (41.0%,CI 95%: 35.3–46.7%) and A (40.0%, CI 95%: 20.8–59.2%) but there was no significant difference (P < 0.05). Highest prevalence of infection was recorded in the month of April corresponding to the onset of the wet season. An overhaul of existing blood donation policies in many health facilities in the sub-Saharan Africa to incorporate malaria screening is advocated. Curative antimalarial drugs followed by prophylactic drugs should be given to all recipients of Parasitized blood.
PMCID: PMC2687905  PMID: 19529802
Blood donor; malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; infection; prevalence; blood group
19.  A prospective study for prevalence and/or development of transfusion-transmitted infections in multiply transfused thalassemia major patients 
To evaluate the rate of seropositivity to hepatitis B and C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections among children with β-thalassemia major receiving multiple transfusions in Ahmedabad, India, compared with healthy controls.
Materials and Methods:
The study was performed during January 2007 to January 2009 on multi-transfused children suffering with β-thalassemia major registered in the Prathama Blood Centre, Ahmedabad; Jeevandeep hospital, Ahmedabad; and Red Cross Blood Centre, Ahmedabad, and investigated for the prevalence and development of transfusion-transmitted infections. Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg), anti-Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Antibodies (Ab), and HIV Ab were checked using a fourth-generation Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Positive tests were confirmed by western blots. Healthy blood donors were used for the control group.
Hepatitis B surface antigen, anti-HCV Ab, and HIV Ab were positive in one of 96 (1.04%; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.17–1.3), 24 of 96 (25%; 95% CI = 11.4–14.2), and one of 96 (1.04%; 95% CI = 0.12–1.3), respectively. The rate of anti-HCV Ab was significantly higher in multi-transfused children suffering with β-thalassemia major. In thalassemia patients, the rate of positive anti-HCV Ab was significantly higher than that for positive HBsAg (P<0.001) and HIV Ab (P<0.001).
It is concluded that HCV is the current major problem in multi-transfused children with thalassemia major and more careful pretransfusion screening of blood for anti-HCV must be introduced in blood centers.
PMCID: PMC3439754  PMID: 22988380
Hepatitis B; hepatitis C; Human immunodeficiency virus; β-thalassemia major; seroprevalence
20.  First case of a naturally acquired human infection with Plasmodium cynomolgi 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:68.
Since 1960, a total of seven species of monkey malaria have been reported as transmissible to man by mosquito bite: Plasmodium cynomolgi, Plasmodium brasilianum, Plasmodium eylesi, Plasmodium knowlesi, Plasmodium inui, Plasmodium schwetzi and Plasmodium simium. With the exception of P. knowlesi, none of the other species has been found to infect humans in nature. In this report, it is described the first known case of a naturally acquired P. cynomolgi malaria in humans.
The patient was a 39-year-old woman from a malaria-free area with no previous history of malaria or travel to endemic areas. Initially, malaria was diagnosed and identified as Plasmodium malariae/P. knowlesi by microscopy in the Terengganu State Health Department. Thick and thin blood films stained with 10% Giemsa were performed for microscopy examination. Molecular species identification was performed at the Institute for Medical Research (IMR, Malaysia) and in the Malaria & Emerging Parasitic Diseases Laboratory (MAPELAB, Spain) using different nested PCR methods.
Microscopic re-examination in the IMR showed characteristics of Plasmodium vivax and was confirmed by a nested PCR assay developed by Snounou et al. Instead, a different PCR assay plus sequencing performed at the MAPELAB confirmed that the patient was infected with P. cynomolgi and not with P. vivax.
This is the first report of human P. cynomolgi infection acquired in a natural way, but there might be more undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases, since P. cynomolgi is morphologically indistinguishable from P. vivax, and one of the most used PCR methods for malaria infection detection may identify a P. cynomolgi infection as P. vivax.
Simian Plasmodium species may routinely infect humans in Southeast Asia. New diagnostic methods are necessary to distinguish between the human and monkey malaria species. Further epidemiological studies, incriminating also the mosquito vector(s), must be performed to know the relevance of cynomolgi malaria and its implication on human public health and in the control of human malaria.
The zoonotic malaria cannot be ignored in view of increasing interactions between man and wild animals in the process of urbanization.
PMCID: PMC3937822  PMID: 24564912
Plasmodium vivax; Plasmodium cynomolgi; Molecular methods; Malaysia; Simian malaria
21.  Serological study on parvovirus B19 infection in multitransfused thalassemia major patients and its transmission through donor units 
Human parvovirus B19 (B19) virus is a newly recognized agent for transfusion transmitted diseases. Beta-thalassemia major patients receive a hypertransfusion regimen, hence, are prone to acquire B19 infection; moreover, B19 escapes viral inactivation methods and donor units are not tested for B19, but there are just a couple of studies globally and none from the Asian continent. Hence, a study was designed to find the frequency of B19 infection and its transmission in multitransfused thalassemia patients.
Materials and Methods:
Ninety multitransfused beta-thalassemia major (thalassemia) patients, 32 controls (age, sex matched) without any history of transfusion were enrolled. Besides the donor units were tested in B19 un-infected patients. B19 specific IgG and IgM antibodies in the sera were analyzed by ELISA (in-house), using B19 VPI and VP2 recombinant and purified antigens; additionally HBsAg and anti-HIV and anti-HCV antibodies were tested for coexisting infections.
Seventy-three (81%) thalassemia patients tested positive for anti-B19 IgG antibodies as compared to seven (21%) in the controls group (P < 0.01), while anti-B19 IgM antibodies were detected in 37 (41.1%) compared to two (6.2%) in the controls (P < 0.01). Mean age of the thalassemia patient was eight years (range 2 – 18 years) and B19 infection was highest in the six-to-ten year range. Seropositivity increased with the number of transfusions. Two of the four HBsAg positive and five of the seven anti-HCV IgM antibody-positive patients also had anti-B19 IgM. After a six-month follow-up, four (25%) of the 16 seronegative patients seroconverted and anti-B19 IgM antibodies were detected in their donor units.
Most of multitransfused thalassemics were B19 seropositive or had anti-B19 IgM; in the remaining uninfected group, B19 got transmitted through infected / IgM-positive donor units.
PMCID: PMC3159243  PMID: 21897592
B19; blood transfusion; parvovirus; seroconversion; thalassemia
22.  Real-time PCR diagnosis of Plasmodium vivax among blood donors 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:345.
When selecting blood donors in transfusion centres, one important problem is to identify, during screening, individuals with infectious diseases that can be transmitted by blood, such as malaria, especially when the parasite densities are very low. This problem is particularly severe in endemic areas, such as the Brazilian Amazon. In the present study, molecular diagnostic (real-time PCR) of Plasmodium vivax was used to identify blood donors infected with malaria parasites.
Samples from 595 blood donors were collected in seven haemotherapy centres in northern Brazil located in areas at risk for malaria transmission, and the analyses were performed by real-time PCR with TaqMan probes on 7500 Real-Time PCR Systems, to genotype the mitochondrial DNA region specific to P. vivax. The experiment was designed for hybridization of the cytochrome c oxidase genes of the mitochondrial genome (GenBank GI63022502). The serological data were obtained using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay - ELISA (Anti-HIV, Anti-HTLV I-II; Anti-HVC, HBsAg, Anti-HBc, Chagas disease) and VDRL (Syphilis) from the Blood Bank System of the Haematology and Haemotherapy Centre of Pará.
The assay identified eight individuals in the sample (1.34%) infected with P. vivax at the time of blood donation. This percentage was higher than the altered serological results (reactive or inconclusive) of the prevalence of anti-HIV (0.67%), anti-hepatitis C virus (0.34%), anti-hepatitis B surface antigen (0.67%), anti-human T-lymphotropic virus I/II (1.18%), anti-Chagas disease (0.17%) and syphilis (VDRL) (0.50%), but not higher than anti-hepatitis B core antigen antibodies (4.37%). This result indicates the need to use more sensitive methods of diagnosing malaria in blood banks.
The real-time PCR with TaqMan probes enabled the identification of P. vivax in a high proportion of clinically healthy donors, highlighting the potential risk for transfusion-transmitted malaria. Additionally, this molecular diagnostic tool can be adopted as a new laboratory screening method in haemotherapy centres, especially in malaria-endemic areas.
PMCID: PMC3523982  PMID: 23062229
Malaria; Molecular diagnostic; Plasmodium vivax; Blood donors
23.  Social and environmental malaria risk factors in urban areas of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 
Malaria Journal  2009;8:13.
Despite low endemicity, malaria remains a major health problem in urban areas where a high proportion of fevers are presumptively treated using anti-malarial drugs. Low acquired malaria immunity, behaviour of city-dwellers, access to health care and preventive interventions, and heterogenic suitability of urban ecosystems for malaria transmission contribute to the complexity of the malaria epidemiology in urban areas.
The study was designed to identify the determinants of malaria transmission estimated by the prevalence of anti-circumsporozoite (CSP) antibodies, the prevalence and density of Plasmodium falciparum infection, and the prevalence of malarial disease in areas of Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso. Thick blood smears, dried blood spots and clinical status have been collected from 3,354 randomly chosen children aged 6 months to 12 years using two cross-sectional surveys (during the dry and rainy seasons) in eight areas from four ecological strata defined according to building density and land tenure (regular versus irregular). Demographic characteristics, socio-economic information, and sanitary and environmental data concerning the children or their households were simultaneously collected. Dependent variables were analysed using mixed multivariable models with random effects, taking into account the clustering of participants within compounds and areas.
Overall prevalences of CSP-antibodies and P. falciparum infections were 7.7% and 16.6% during the dry season, and 12.4% and 26.1% during the rainy season, respectively, with significant differences according to ecological strata. Malaria risk was significantly higher among children who i) lived in households with lower economic or education levels, iii) near the hydrographic network, iv) in sparsely built-up areas, v) in irregularly built areas, vi) who did not use a bed net, vii) were sampled during the rainy season or ii) had traveled outside of Ouagadougou.
Malaria control should be focused in areas which are irregularly or sparsely built-up or near the hydrographic network. Furthermore, urban children would benefit from preventive interventions (e.g. anti-vectorial devices or chemoprophylaxis) aimed at reducing malaria risk during and after travel in rural areas.
PMCID: PMC2640411  PMID: 19144144
24.  The Effect of Previous Pregnancy and Transfusion on HLA Alloimmunization in Blood Donors: Implications for a Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury (TRALI) Risk Reduction Strategy 
Transfusion  2009;49(9):1825-1835.
Antibodies to human leukocyte antigens (HLA) in donated blood have been implicated as a cause of transfusion related acute lung injury (TRALI). A potential measure to reduce the risk of TRALI includes screening platelet apheresis donors for HLA antibodies. The prevalence of HLA antibodies and their relationship to previous transfusion or pregnancy in blood donors was determined.
Study design and methods
8171 volunteer blood donors were prospectively recruited by 6 U.S. blood centers from December 2006 to May 2007. Donors provided a detailed history of pregnancy and transfusion, and a sample for HLA class I and II antibody testing by multi-antigen bead flow analysis.
8171 donors were enrolled, 7920 (96.9%) had valid HLA antibody test results and 7841(99%) of those had complete pregnancy and transfusion information. The prevalence of any HLA antibody was similar in non-transfused (n=1138) and transfused (n=895) men, 1.0 vs. 1.7% (p=0.16). HLA antibodies were detected in 17.3% of all female donors (n=5834) and in 24.4 % of those with a history of previous pregnancy (n=3992). The prevalence of HLA antibodies increased in women with greater numbers of pregnancy: 1.7%(zero), 11.2%(one), 22.5%(two), 27.5%(three) and 32.2%(four or more pregnancies), p<0.0001.
HLA class I and class II antibodies are detectable at low prevalence in male donors regardless of transfusion and in female donors without known immunizing events. The prevalence of HLA antibodies increases significantly with more pregnancies. These data will allow blood centers to estimate the impact of HLA antibody testing as a potential TRALI risk-reduction measure.
PMCID: PMC2841001  PMID: 19453983
HLA antibody; pregnancy; transfusion; transfusion related acute lung injury
25.  Health worker factors associated with prescribing of artemisinin combination therapy for uncomplicated malaria in rural Tanzania 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:334.
Improving malaria case management is partially dependent on health worker compliance with clinical guidelines. This study assessed health worker factors associated with correct anti-malarial prescribing practices at two sites in rural Tanzania.
Repeated cross-sectional health facility surveys were conducted during high and low malaria transmission seasons in 2010 and collected information on patient consultations and health worker characteristics. Using logistic regression, the study assessed health worker factors associated with correct prescription for uncomplicated malaria defined as prescription of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for patients with fever and Plasmodium falciparum asexual infection based on blood slide or malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) according to national treatment guidelines.
The analysis included 685 patients with uncomplicated malaria who were seen in a health facility with ACT in stock, and 71 health workers practicing in 30 health facilities. Overall, 58% of malaria patients were correctly treated with ACT. Health workers with three or more years’ work experience were significantly more likely than others to prescribe correctly (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-7.1; p = 0.019). Clinical officers (aOR 2.2; 95% CI 1.1-4.5; p = 0.037), and nurse aide or lower cadre (aOR 3.1; 95% CI 1.3-7.1; p = 0.009) were more likely to correctly prescribe ACT than medical officers. Training on ACT use, supervision visits, and availability of job aids were not significantly associated with correct prescription.
Years of working experience and health worker cadre were associated with correct ACT prescription for uncomplicated malaria. Targeted interventions to improve health worker performance are needed to improve overall malaria case management.
PMCID: PMC3848943  PMID: 24053679
Uncomplicated malaria; Correct prescription; Artemisinin combination therapy

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