Leukopenia in malaria

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Muhammad Ayub Khan
Muhammad Nouman
Iftikhar Muhammad
`Salman Khan
Zia Ullah
Muhammad Yousaf

Abstract

Study design: Descriptive cross-sectional study
Methods: Patients who had a fever of 101oF or higher in the previous 72 hours and were suspicious of having malaria were tested for the occurrence and species recognition of the parasite using thin and thick films of peripheral blood taken by light microscopy. Non-probability consecutive sampling was used to choose 500 individuals over the age of 12 who had a confirmed malarial parasite (MP) on a peripheral blood film. Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria were followed. Complete Blood Count (CBC) was performed on all patients to look for the total white blood cells (WBC) count. Leukopenia was defined as WBC counts less than 4000 cells per mm3.
Results: All the 500 included patients were malarial parasite positive on smear. Out of these 318 (63.6%) were male and 182(36.4%) were female. Among all 482 (96%) were P. vivax positive showing that it is the most common plasmodium species in the Northwestern regions of Pakistan. P. falciparum infection was found in a significantly lower population with only 14(2.8%) cases in our study and 4 cases of mixed infection of both P.vivax and P.falciparum were reported. The Total White Blood Cells (WBC) count was found to be less or equal to 4000/mm3 in 108 (21.6%) cases. This showed that malaria can cause leukopenia in a considerable amount of individuals.
Conclusions: The present study indicates that the decrease in total white blood cells count occur in patients having malaria and is more frequently seen in plasmodium Vivax.

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