1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Malaria is an internationally devastating disease and continues to be one of the most devastating infectious diseases of our time, rivaling Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Disease Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and Tuberculosis as killer diseases in tropical and subtropical regions (WHO, 2005). Around 3.2 billion people are at risk of malarial attack each year, with around 500 million people proceeding to clinical disease and 2-3 million deaths occurring (Snow et al, 2005). Over 90% of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa (WHO, 2005). The burden of morbidity and mortality is biased towards young children, not yet immuned to clinical symptoms (Snow et al, 2005) and pregnant women, where parasites are sequestered in the placenta (Rowe and Keys, 2004).
In Africa, Anopheles gambiae and An. melas breeding in sunlit habitats and An. funestus in shades and An. phorensis in Upper Egypt and Sudan are responsible for the transmission of malaria parasite. In Nigeria, Anopheles gambiae complex, An. funestus and An. arabiensis have been incriminated for malaria transmission with major impact (Oguoma and Ikpeze, 2008) and Ekanem (1991).
The parasites that cause malarial disease are protozoan organisms that also infect many animal species including primates, lizards and birds. Four Plasmodium species are responsible for human malaria: Plasmodium falciparum; P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. Plasmodium falciparum is the most virulent parasite, and is responsible for the majority of malaria – related mortality. It is found in all malaria endemic regions of the world, and is the most common human malaria parasite in Africa (WHO, 2005). Plasmodium vivax is rarely found in Africa, but it is the most common species outside Africa (Mendis et al, 2001; Carter and Mendis, 2002).
Malaria distribution and prevalence depends mainly on climatic factor such as temperature, humidity and rainfall (CDC, 2017). Nigeria has more reported cases of malaria and deaths due to malaria than any other country in the world (Nigeria Malaria Fact Sheet, 2011). World malaria report indicated that Nigeria accounted for a quarter of all malaria cases in the 45 malaria endemic countries in Africa showing clearly the challenges of malaria in Nigeria (WHO, 2008). Malaria contributes greatly to the increase in hospital attendance across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria (Adeyemo et al., 2014).
The Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria revealed that it accounts for 110 million clinical cases annually and that about N132billion is lost to the treatment and prevention of malaria (FMOH, 2005). Endemicity of malaria in Nigeria could be attributed to non-compliance on the part of Nigerians to the preventive measures and correct use of artemisinin-based combination therapy (Adeyemo et al., 2014). The intensity of transmission of this disease depends on factors related to the parasite, the vector, the human host, and the environment (WHO, 2014).
The onset symptoms are fever, headache, chills, fatigue, vomiting and loss of appetite (OlusegunJoseph et al., 2016) which may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria because other diseases present similar symptoms. However, malaria is preventable and curable, as early accurate diagnoses and effective treatment reduces the menace and prevent death (WHO, 2017).
Prevalence studies and other community-based malaria surveys are necessary for generating data on malaria epidemiology and transmission dynamics, and for the designing of effective intervention programmes at local and national levels to meet the need of individual communities or settings (Aina et al., 2013). Therefore, this study was designed to determine the current prevalence of malaria among students of Zoology and environmental biology in University of Calabar and to proffer solution towards proper management of the disease.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A repeatedly report about malaria parasite infection has arisen several years long ago and presently, causing regular fever, continuous chill, vomiting, headache, shortage of blood and other relative sickness, which forms the symptom of the infection. The estimate of the incident of malaria parasite, according to WHO (2006) shows that about 270 million new malaria infection occurs worldwide with the accompaniment of 110 and 2 million case of illness and death respectively. Where 25% of children’s death in Africa are attributed to malaria (WHO, 2016). Therefore, a need to carry out this study in order to fill this gap.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main objective of the study is to examine the prevalence of malaria parasite among student of Zoology and Environmental Biology in University of Calabar.
The following are the specific objectives of the study:
- Larval survey of Anopheles
- Indoor survey of adult Anopheles mosquitoes using the Pyrethrum Knockdown Collection (PKC) method.
- Dissection of adult Anopheles mosquitoes collected indoors to demonstrate the presence of sporozoites in the salivary glands or gametocytes in the stomach.
- To determine the prevalence of infecting Plasmodium species in the human community, through examination of blood films using both thick and thin smears.
- Prevalence of various malaria parasites among student of Zoology and Environmental Biology in University of Calabar.
- The prevalence of malaria parasites by sex among student of Zoology and Environmental Biology in University of Calabar
- prevalence of malaria parasite by age with respect to single and mixed infections among student of Zoology and Environmental Biology in University of Calabar.
- To estimate the Haemoglobin (Hb) level
- To determine the packed cell volume (PCV) of the inhabitants of Aguowa community
1.5 Significance of the study
This study will help to create awareness on the effects of malaria parasite on man. Therefore, assisting us to study our environment properly and know what causes the high breeding rate of these insects (particularly mosquitoes) and their control or preventives measures.
The study will provide knowledge on the danger and effect of malaria on human being. It is serves as a reaching text to members of the public, who could want to gain more or have a deeper knowledge, on the effects of mosquitoes on man. It also will serve as awareness to the students in the University of Calabar and to encourage non-government organizations (NGOs) to participate in campaigning to the people on the danger of mosquitoes to man and its preventive measures.
1.6 Scope of the study
The study examines the prevalence of malaria parasite. The study is therefore limited to the students of zoology and environmental biology in university of Calabar.