Nav: Home

New research: High risk of malaria transmission after blood transfusions in sub-Saharan Africa

April 16, 2018

DAKAR (16 April 2018)--A new study suggests that in certain areas of sub-Saharan Africa, nearly one in four blood bank supplies contain the parasites that cause malaria. Another study, focusing on the blood supply of Equatorial Guinea's capital, Malabo, found much higher levels of latent malaria infection, most of it--more than 89 percent--at a level that commonly-used diagnostic technology cannot detect. Both studies were presented at the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan African Malaria Conference in Dakar, Senegal.

Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest burden of malaria in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 90 percent of all malaria cases are located in the region. In the quest for elimination of malaria, all sources of disease transmission, including the region's blood banks, need to be addressed.

The first study, "A systematic review and meta-analysis of the risk of transfusion-transmitted malaria from blood donors in sub-Saharan Africa," conducted by Dr Selali Fiamanya and colleagues from the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN), gathered results from 24 studies to assess malaria prevalence among 22,508 blood donors. Pooled prevalence of malaria parasitemia was 23.46 percent (95%CI: 19.7% - 27.2%), ranging from 6.5 percent to 74.1 percent, including more than 10 studies from Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.

Half of all children receiving blood transfusions need the procedure to address malaria-induced anemia, the failure to keep these blood banks safe puts children and their parents at risk. Dr. Fiamanya's study shows that without better vigilance, children receiving transfusions to address malaria's impacts risk exposure to more malaria-causing parasites.

"Malaria is one of the primary infections that can be transmitted through a blood transfusion in sub-Saharan Africa," said Dr. Fiamanya at WWARN. "Our research is only the first line of inquiry needed to address this risk. Pregnant women and children receive the majority of transfusions in this region. The technical challenges of diagnosing and removing the Plasmodium parasites from the blood banks requires further analysis, but we know already that these findings threatens the next generation--our future."

The second study, "Prevalence of Malaria Parasites at the Malabo Blood Bank on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea," conducted by Dr. Claudia Daubenberger, colleagues at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, and Dr. Tamy Robaina at the Malabo Blood Bank, with support from Marathon Oil Corporation and the Equatoguinean Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, used a more sensitive diagnostic test--quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays--to examine 200 blood samples collected in the country's capital, Malabo.

Typically, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and thick blood smear microscopy are used to diagnose malaria as these tests are much easier to deploy and use in the field. Neither diagnostic test can detect latent malaria infection, however, and low-level or asymptomatic infections can hide reservoirs of parasites that fuel future malaria outbreaks.

Using the qPCR assays, which are currently too expensive and unsuitable for most field conditions, Dr. Daubenberger and colleagues found that 29.5 percent of the blood samples were contaminated. All of the samples thought to be free of the malaria parasite held very low concentrations of the parasites--under 100 parasites per microliter of blood.

"With better screening technology and practices in place, blood banks in sub-Saharan Africa can be well placed to serve as a surveillance system, helping to monitor malaria and other transfusion-transmitted infectious diseases," said Dr. Daubenberger. "Our findings clearly reinforce World Health Organization recommendations that all transfusion recipients receive preventive malarial treatments. This disease is a treatable and preventable burden that few patients needing blood transfusions can afford."

The Pan African Malaria Conference is organized every three-to-four years by the MIM secretariat in collaboration with a group of African institutions. This year's meeting falls four months after the release of the WHO's 2017 World Malaria Report, which found there is a dire need for new malaria interventions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The report found that despite recent advances, overall progress against global malaria control has stalled. In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria, about 5 million cases more than in 2015. Ninety percent of these cases occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

This year's malaria conference in Dakar is running parallel to The Malaria Summit, Ready to beat malaria, which is taking place alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on 18th April 2018. This will bring together business leaders, philanthropists, scientists, Heads of States and civil society to announce significant new commitments to mobilize domestic resources, increase investment and develop new innovation and approaches towards beating malaria. The commitments sit alongside a call to action urging the Commonwealth as a whole--who represent citizens making up six out of ten malaria cases globally--to commit to accelerating progress against malaria, the world's oldest and deadliest disease.
-end-
About the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM): The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) was established in 1997 in Dakar with a mission to strengthen and sustain through collaborative research and training, the capacity of malaria-endemic countries in Africa to carry out research that is required to develop and improve tools for malaria control and to strengthen the research-control interphase. Every four years the MIM organizes a Pan African Malaria Conference to celebrate progress made by researchers and control program managers. The MIM Secretariat is based at the University of Yaoundé I, in Cameroon with Prof. Rose Leke as the Co-Chair, Prof. Wilfred Mbacham as the Executive Director and Dr. Abanda Ngu Njei as the Manager. The MIM converts into a MIM Society with membership this year. For this 7th edition, the MIM Local Organizing Committee is chaired by Prof. Oumar Gaye from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal. For more information, please visit www.mim2018.com

Burness

Related Malaria Articles:

Could there be a 'social vaccine' for malaria?
Malaria is a global killer and a world health concern.
Transgenic plants against malaria
Scientists have discovered a gene that allows to double the production of artemisinin in the Artemisia annua plant.
Fighting malaria through metabolism
EPFL scientists have fully modeled the metabolism of the deadliest malaria parasite.
Should we commit to eradicate malaria worldwide?
Should we commit to eradicate malaria worldwide, asks a debate article published by The BMJ today?
Investigational malaria vaccine shows considerable protection in adults in malaria season
An investigational malaria vaccine given intravenously was well-tolerated and protected a significant proportion of healthy adults against infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria -- the deadliest form of the disease -- for the duration of the malaria season, according to new findings published in the Feb.
Why malaria mosquitoes like people with malaria
Malaria mosquitoes prefer to feed -- and feed more -- on blood from people infected with malaria.
Malaria superbugs threaten global malaria control
A lineage of multidrug resistant P. falciparum malaria superbugs has widely spread and is now established in parts of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, causing high treatment failure rates for the main falciparum malaria medicines, artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), according to a study published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Considering cattle could help eliminate malaria in India
The goal of eliminating malaria in countries like India could be more achievable if mosquito-control efforts take into account the relationship between mosquitoes and cattle, according to an international team of researchers.
Seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Senegalese children lowers overall malaria burden
Giving preventive antimalarial drugs to children up to age 10 during active malaria season reduced the cases of malaria in that age group and lowered the malaria incidence in adults, according to a randomized trial carried out in Senegal and published in PLOS Medicine by researchers from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, and other collaborators.
How malaria fools our immune system
OIST researchers reconstruct the 3-D structure of a malaria protein in combination with human antibodies.

Related Malaria Reading:

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
by Sonia Shah (Author)

In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have opened their pocketbooks in hopes of eradicating the scourge. How does a parasitic disease that we’ve known how to prevent for more than a century still infect three hundred million people every year, killing nearly one million of them? In The Fever, the journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer this question, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives.... View Details


The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease)
by Randall M. Packard (Author)

Malaria sickens hundreds of millions of people―and kills one to three million―each year. Despite massive efforts to eradicate the disease, it remains a major public health problem in poorer tropical regions. But malaria has not always been concentrated in tropical areas. How did other regions control malaria and why does the disease still flourish in some parts of the globe?

From Russia to Bengal to Palm Beach, Randall Packard’s far-ranging narrative traces the natural and social forces that help malaria spread and make it deadly. He finds that war, land development, crumbling... View Details


Malaria: Biology in the Era of Eradication (Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine)
by Dyann Wirth (Editor), Pedro L. Alonso (Editor)

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by parasitic protozoa that belong to the genus Plasmodium. This disease imposes a significant global health burden, claiming the lives of several thousand children and pregnant women each day. Increasing antimalarial drug resistance and the complexity of the Plasmodium life cycle, among other factors, have made eradication difficult.

Written and edited by experts in the field, this collection from Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine examines the biology, pathology, and epidemiology of malaria, as well as... View Details


The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure
by Karen M. Masterson (Author)

A fascinating and shocking historical exposé, The Malaria Project is the story of America's secret mission to combat malaria during World War II—a campaign modeled after a German project which tested experimental drugs on men gone mad from syphilis.

American war planners, foreseeing the tactical need for a malaria drug, recreated the German model, then grew it tenfold. Quickly becoming the biggest and most important medical initiative of the war, the project tasked dozens of the country’s top research scientists and university labs to find a treatment to remedy half... View Details


Malaria Dreams: An African Adventure
by Stuart Stevens (Author)

Introducing the life cycles of the main animal groups, this series provides an overview of key physical characteristics and covers the life cycle from birth, or hatching, to death, looking at growing up, feeding, mating, keeping safe, threats and survival. Each title includes simple charts and graphs to explain patterns of change and compare offspring to parent from a wide range of animal examples from near home and around the world. View Details


Malaria (Diseases in History)
by Kevin Cunningham (Author)

Explores four of the deadliest and most feared diseases in human history: plague, malaria, HIV/AIDS and influenza, examining each disease's impact on history and casting light on civilization's fragility and humanity's reaction. View Details


Malaria: Etiology, Pathology, Diagnosis, Prophylaxis, and Treatment (Classic Reprint)
by Graham Edward Henson (Author)

Excerpt from Malaria: Etiology, Pathology, Diagnosis, Prophylaxis, and Treatment

There IS little doubt that the eradication of malaria is the most serious problem that confronts the sanitarian in all tropical and sub-tropical countries. The completion of the Panama Canal will forever be a monument to progressive sanitation which the Amer ican people may point to with pride. Under the splendid general ship of Colonel W. C. Gorgas, malaria and other tropical diseases have:been successfully coped with, some to the point of complete eradication, others to such an extent as not to seriously... View Details


Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States
by Margaret Humphreys (Author)

In Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States, Margaret Humphreys presents the first book-length account of the parasitic, insect-borne disease that has infected millions and influenced settlement patterns, economic development, and the quality of life at every level of American society, especially in the south.

Humphreys approaches malaria from three perspectives: the parasite's biological history, the medical response to it, and the patient's experience of the disease. It addresses numerous questions including how the parasite thrives and eventually... View Details


First Comes Love, then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life
by Eve Brown-Waite (Author)

In this hilarious memoir, a pampered city girl falls head over little black heels in love with a Peace Corps poster boy and follows him— literally to the ends of the earth.

Eve Brown always thought she would join the Peace Corps someday, although she secretly worried about life without sushi, frothy coffee drinks and air conditioning.  But with college diploma in hand, it was time to put up or shut up. So with some ambivalence she arrived at the Peace Corps office, sporting her best safari chic attire, to casually look into the steps one might take to become a global... View Details


Malaria (Deadly Diseases and Epidemics)
by Bernard Marcus (Author)

A continuing series with sidebars, further readings, and web site addresses explores different diseases found throughout the world to show the science behind how disease-causing organisms affect the body. View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Turning Kids Into Grown-Ups
Parenting is fraught with uncertainty, changing with each generation. This hour, TED speakers share ideas about raising kids and how — despite our best efforts — we're probably still doing it wrong. Guests include former Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims, former firefighter Caroline Paul, author Peggy Orenstein, psychologist Dr. Aala El-Khani, and poet Sarah Kay.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#470 Information Spookyhighway
This week we take a closer look at a few of the downsides of the modern internet, and some of the security and privacy challenges that are becoming increasingly troublesome. Rachelle Saunders speaks with cyber security expert James Lyne about how modern hacking differs from the hacks of old, and how an internet without national boards makes it tricky to police online crime across jurisdictions. And Bethany Brookshire speaks with David Garcia, a computer scientist at the Complexity Science Hub and the Medical University of Vienna, about the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, and how social media platforms put a wrench...