Malaria is one of the most important transfusion associated infections in many parts of the world, particularly the developing countries where it is endemic. This study estimates the risk of acquiring malaria from a single unit of blood in North of Pakistan. A prospective study was conducted to investigate transfusion transmitted malaria in three major blood banks of Peshawar, Pakistan. A total of 1558 (1534 males and 24 females) healthy volunteer blood donors were screened for the presence of malarial parasites in thick and thin smears using microscopy. Nine donors (0.577%) were found positive for malarial parasite, with trophozoites and gametocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum (1) and Plasmodium vivax (8). Majority of the donors (82.09%) belonged to age group 15 - 30 years. Donors who suffered from malaria in recent years were 28 in number and 3 of them were found positive for malaria in the present study. The results of the present study indicated that transfusion transmitted malaria is a risk in malaria endemic regions like Pakistan. Further research on this aspect using more sophisticated and advanced diagnostic techniques like enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are required for proper assessment of actual situation and control of transfusion transmitted malaria in Pakistan.
Key words: Transfusion, malaria, blood-borne infections, screening, microscopy, blood banks.
ELISA, Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; RBCs, red blood cells; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; TTM,transfusion transmitted malaria; KTH, Khyber Teaching Hospital; IRNUM, Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicines.
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