1.1. Background of the study
Malaria is a potentially deadly disease characterized by cyclical bouts of fever with muscle stiffness, shaking and sweating (WHO, 2000). Macleod (1998) also stated that malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted to humans through the bites of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The name “malaria” is derived from the Italian words Mal (bad) and aria (air). It arose originally because the citizens of Rome thought that the disease was contracted by breathing the bad air of the Pontine Marshes (Garnham, 1966). It is a vector borne infectious disease caused by a eukaryotic protista of the genus Plasmodium (Akinleye, 2009). Hornby (2007) defined malaria infection as an infectious disease due to the presence of parasitic Protozoa of the genus Plasmodium (P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale or P. vivax) within the red blood cells. The disease is confined to tropical and subtropical areas. Of this four common species that cause malaria, the most serious type is P. falciparum malaria; it is life-threatening (Hay et al., 2004).
Malaria is a major health threatening disease, which results in approximately 200 – 300 million clinical cases and 1-3 million deaths each year worldwide (Hay et al., 2004). Malaria transmission is intense and stable in Nigeria with associated economic losses estimated to be about 132 billion Naira (Snow et al., 2005). In Nigeria and rest of endemic Africa, the bulk of malaria episodes are attributable to P. falciparum with an estimated 28 million cases and 38 000 deaths in 2011, malaria remains a significant public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa (Yadav et al., 2012). In Nigeria, 52.8% of Nigerian population tested positive for falciparum based on microscopy examination (Kochar et al., 2009). According to Kolawole et al. (2014), research in university of Ilorin teaching Hospital (UITH) of patients who have malaria (P. falciparum) infection, 58% of patients were found to be positive with malaria parasite density ranging from 200 parasite/μl to 800 parasite/μl. Malaria is a febrile illness characterized by fever and related symptoms; however it is very important to remember that malaria is not a simple disease of fever, chills and rigors (Kolawole et al., 2014). The number of a typical presentation of malaria has gradually increased during the past few decades (Akinleye, 2009). Malaria can present with non-specific symptoms like headache, fatigue, joint pain, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, myalgia, anaemia followed by fever to severe complications like jaundice, acute renal failure, anaemia, shock, convulsions and coma (Hussian et al., 2012). These symptoms can be acute and chronic depending on the extent of malaria (falciparum) infection and also the complication involve (Kochar et al., 2009). Hence the need for prompt diagnosis and differentiation from other similar symptomatic infection. This study is an attempt to investigate the seropostive and seronegative population among Kwara State University, Malete students.
1.2 Statement of problem
Malaria infection is a major public health challenge for many countries in the world (especially developing countries e.g Nigeria) causing tremendous high rates of morbidity and mortality (Jennison, 2015). The Plasmodium falciparum species infections are responsible for the majority of the human severe malaria burden worldwide (Greenwood and Mutabingwa, 2002). This species is found worldwide in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is estimated that every year approximately one million people are killed by species, especially in Nigeria where this species predominates (Greenwood and Mutabingwa, 2002; Abdel-gadir, 2015).
This parasite causes a lot of harvoc to the body such as destruction of red blood cells, leading to the clinical signs and symptoms such as fever, flu-like, chills etc. diarrhea, and anemia and jaundice due to loss of red blood cells unless treated quickly the disease can kill within 24 hours (Wells et al., 2009). Methods used in order to prevent the spread of disease, or to protect individuals in areas where malaria is endemic, include prophylactic drugs, mosquito eradication and the prevention of mosquito bites (Kochar et al., 2009). The continued existence of malaria in an area requires a combination of high human population density, high mosquito population density and high rates of transmission from humans to mosquitoes and from mosquitoes to humans (Akinleye, 2009). If any of these is lowered sufficiently, the parasite will sooner or later disappear from community (Snow et al., 2005). Many states, communities, institutions, seeing an increasing number of imported malaria cases owing to extensive travel and migration and little or no information is available as regarding the seroprevalence of malaria parasite in Kwara State University, Malete. Hence the need for the seroprevalence study to estimate the proportion (percentage) of student who seropositive and those seronegative of malaria infection.
It has been established that people of all ages are affected by malaria infection in sub-saharan Africa, especially Nigeria which bear the heaviest burden of malaria attack which is either treated at home or in the hospital. Early recognition and appropriate treatment can go a long way in minimizing the outcome of the disease. Previously, WHO (2014) has advocated for the management of malaria infections in the homes, institutions, work place, campuses should be done before seeking help from any near by health out let. In the recent time WHO urges endemic countries and malaria partners to adopt diagnostic testing, treatment and surveillance for malaria (WHO, 2011). Endemic countries and stakeholders should ensure that every suspected malaria case is tested and that every confirmed case be treated with a quality-assured anti malarial drug, and that every malaria case be tracked in a surveillance system. Due to this it became necessary to verify and compare the relationship between practice, socio-economic demographic characteristics and malaria infection serology status. There is paucity of information or no previous data on the seropositive or seronegative prevalence of malaria among Kwara State University, Malete students. Hence the significance of this research.