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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 323-326

Hematological indices in febrile neonates with malaria parasitaemia in Calabar

Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, Calabar and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Emmanuel E Ekanem
Department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.170383

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Background: Normal hematological indices has been determined in Nigerian newborns and found to be lower compared to their Caucasian counterparts. This was attributed to genetic factors. Malaria is endemic in Nigeria and is one of the major causes of ill health and death. Anemia is an important manifestation of malaria. Resistance by malaria parasites to antimalarial drug exacerbates the situation by continuous hemolysis. Aim: To determine the hematological indices in febrile newborn with malaria parasitemia. Materials and Methods: One-hundred fifty neonates (0-28 days) with fever admitted into the Newborn Unit of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, over a 6 months period, were recruited consecutively. Blood film for malaria parasites and samples for full blood count were obtained and sent to the laboratory before commencement of the treatment. Data analysis was with SPSS version 14. Results: One-hundred fifty babies were recruited into the study. Most (85.3%) of the babies were aged ≤7 days. Six babies (4%) had malaria parasitemia. Plasmodium falciparum was the only species identified. All the babies that had parasitemia were anemic (mean hemoglobin [Hb] concentration of 12.6 g/dl) even when parasite count was low (average of 30.6/µl) though this could not be attributed solely to malaria. None of these neonates was transfused. All the other hematological indices were within the normal range of healthy newborn population irrespective of parasitization. Conclusion: Neonatal malaria does occur in our environment. While it does not affect the white blood indices, it lowers neonatal Hb. It is recommended that Hb concentration be estimated in newborns with malaria to reduce infant morbidity and mortality in our environment.

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