Transfusional malaria in the neonatal period in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.

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Iheonu, F.O.
Fajolu, I.B.
Ezeaka, C.V.
Oyibo, W.A.
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Public Library of Science
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Sick neonates in malaria endemic areas are frequently transfused with donor blood unscreened for malaria parasite. Consequently, they are at risk of transfusional malaria which can lead to increased neonatal mortality. The study aimed to determine the burden of transfusional malaria in neonates to help in policy formulation on prevention of transfusional malaria. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred and sixty four neonates admitted into the neonatal unit of a tertiary hospital over a 10 month period who were scheduled for blood transfusion were screened for malaria parasites pre-transfusion, at three and 14 days post transfusion using Giemsa stained thick and thin films. Donor blood was screened for malaria parasites at the point of transfusion. Neonates who developed malaria parasitaemia post transfusion were followed up for signs of malaria. RESULTS: All recruited neonates tested negative to malaria parasite pre- transfusion. One hundred and twenty (73.2%) were term neonates with 94(57.3%) aged 1-7days. Four (2.4%) neonates developed malaria parasitaemia three days post transfusion and all four developed fever that resolved on treatment for malaria. Three (1.8%) of 164 donor blood samples had malaria parasitaemia and all three (100%) neonates who were transfused with the infected donor blood developed malaria parasitaemia post transfusion. However, one neonate who developed malaria parasitaemia post transfusion was transfused with non-infected donor blood. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of transfusional malaria in this study is low (2.4%). However, 100% of neonates who received malaria infected donor blood developed transfusional malaria. We therefore recommend routine screening of donor pre-transfusion, testing of neonates who develop fever post transfusion and treatment of those who test positive to malaria.
Transfusional malaria , Neonates , Nigeria
Iheonu FO, Fajolu IB, Ezeaka CV, Oyibo WA. Transfusional malaria in the neonatal period in Lagos, South-West Nigeria. PLoS One. 2018 Apr 3;13(4):e0195319.