MALARIAL PARASITE SCREENING OF TROOPS RETURNING FROM UN MISSION TO PAKISTAN
Objective: To establish efficacy of malaria prevention programs by screening troops returning from UN peacekeeping services in high risk areas in Africa for malarial parasites.
Study Design: Cross sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Combined Military Hospital, Kharian, from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019.
Methodology: In this cross sectional study, individuals of regiments returning to Pakistan from high risk areas
in Africa were screened for malarial parasites. A total of 1632 samples were analyzed during this time frame.
Informed consent was taken at the individual and institutional level. Blood samples obtained from each participant were tested by both immuno-chromatographic techniques and peripheral blood films.
Results: Total 1632 individuals were screened for malarial parasites. Peripheral blood slides were negative in all
individuals except one. Immuno-chromatographic techniques for detection of malarial parasites were positive in 17 individuals for Plasmodium falciparum antigen. Only one individual had both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum positivity via both methods. All of them were asymptomatic at the time of screening, had a past history of high grade fever treated with anti-malarial drugs and were admitted for observation and follow up.
Conclusion: Despite the high prevalence of malaria in Africa, the current prevention protocols prove to be highly efficacious in protecting UN peace-keeping forces from infection and lowering mortality rates.