Int J Infect Dis 2012 Dec 28;16(12):e860-5. Epub 2012 Aug 28.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anambra State University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.
Background: Placental malaria is a complication of malaria in pregnancy and is associated with adverse outcomes. Its burden is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, but despite this, data based on histological analysis are scarce from this region.
Methods: Questionnaires administered by the researchers were used to obtain information from parturients at a university teaching hospital in southeastern Nigeria between April and November 2010. Maternal blood and placental blood were collected for analysis. Placental blocks were taken for histological analysis. Statistical analyses were done using SPSS v. 17.
Results: Three hundred and sixty-five placentas were analyzed, out of which 254 showed histological evidence of malaria parasitization, giving a prevalence of 69.6%. Of the 254 placentas, 23 (9.0%) showed active infection and 196 (77.2%) showed active-on-past infection, while 35 (13.8%) showed past infection. Rural residence, hemoglobin genotype AA, not receiving intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp), and not sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) were significantly associated with placental malaria. Placental parasite density was inversely related to parity.
Conclusions: This study showed that the prevalence of placental malaria in southeastern Nigeria is high, and demonstrated that the mean parasite density was inversely related to parity. Significant factors associated with placental malaria were also identified. Appreciation of these significant factors will assist program managers in implementing the strategies for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy.