INTRODUCTION: In sub-Saharan Africa, Malaria could lead to about 770, 000 death alone this year if COVID-19 disrupts the key strategies, according to a newly available report on WHO modeling analysis. Transfusion medicine infections are mostly prevalent studies on bacteria and viruses with very little or no effort at investigating malaria parasite infection that can cause severe post-transfusion illness, especially in transfusion-dependent patients.
OBJECTIVES: This study designed to bridge the gap by screening for Plasmodium falciparum infection and determine the effect of storage duration at 4°C on P. falciparum infection.
METHODOLOGY: A Cross-sectional study on blood donors in Ibadan Oyo state, National blood transfusion service centre. Demographic data and clinical history were obtained using a pro-formal questionnaire. Donor's blood samples were P. falciparum positive using Giemsa stained microscopy.
RESULTS: A total of 248 blood samples collected from donors from southwest Nigeria were tested for P. falciparum parasites. The overall prevalence of P. falciparum infection using Giemsa microscopy was 8.5%. The prevalence in blood samples stored for 3days, 7 days, and 21 days were 8.1%, 7.3%, and 5.7% respectively. There was a significant decline in the prevalence of P. falciparum, by microscopy, with an increased period of blood storage from day 0 to day 21 (Kendall’s Tau; p< 0.001).
CONCLUSION: The present study revealed that P. falciparum is prevalent among blood donors in the Ibadan, Nigeria. Blood storage for about 21 days can significantly reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted P. falciparum malaria. This can be attributed to the lack of adequate accommodation and poor sanitary conditions in the area under study. National surveillance and public health education should stop the spread of parasitic infections in transfusion medicine.