An investigation of symptomatic malaria parasitaemia and anaemia in nursery and primary school children in Buea District Cameroon.
Nkuo Akenji, T.K.
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Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia and anemia in nursery and primary school children and correlate parasite density with haemoglobin levels. Design: Cross sectional study. Setting: Samples were collected from children attending the Saint Theresa’s bilingual school and the Government Primary school, Buea, South West Province, Cameroon. Subjects: 297 nursery and primary school children two to 11 years old selected based on parental consent. Main Outome Measures: Relationship between asymptomatic malaria and anaemia. Results: The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria in children was 30.3%. Parasite prevalence and density was independent of age and sex (p>0.05). The mean haemoglobin level for parasitaemic children was 11.9g/dl (±SD1.1) compared with 12.1g/dl (±1.2) for non-parasitaemic children. The difference was not significant (t=1.918, p>0.05). Anaemia when present was mild. No correlation was found between malaria parasite density and haemoglobin levels (r=-0.065; p>0.05). Conclusion: Asymptomatic malaria was accompanied by low grade parasitaemia, which did not seem to have a significant effect on haemoglobin levels.