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Clin Infect Dis. 2010 Nov 15;51(10):1192-8. doi: 10.1086/656806. Epub 2010 Oct 7.

Transfusion-transmitted malaria in countries where malaria is endemic: a review of the literature from sub-Saharan Africa.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana.


Although international policies recommend that blood for transfusion should be screened for transfusion-transmitted infections, malaria screening is not performed in most malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Our literature review identified 17 relevant studies from the period 1980-2009 and indicated that the median prevalence of malaria among 33,029 blood donors was 10.2% (range, 0.7% in Kenya to 55.0% in Nigeria). Malaria screening methods, including microscopy (used in 16 of 17 studies), are either insensitive or impractical for donor screening in resource-poor countries. Even if a suitable screening method were available, rejection of malaria-positive donors would jeopardize the blood supply. Only 1 study established the prevalence of parasitemia among transfusion recipients. This review highlights the need for more evidence about the clinical impact of transfusion-transmitted malaria to justify the policy of screening for blood for malaria in areas of endemicity and for a critical analysis of the feasibility of implementing such a policy and its effect on blood supply.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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