Platelet count and platelet indices of symptomatic and asymptomatic children infected by malaria in Calabar Metropolis, Nigeria

Dorathy C. Okpokam, Beauty E. Echonwere-Uwikor, Reality I. Umoumo, Sunday O. Ochigbo


Background: Malaria infection has been reported to be a major problem affecting developing countries. This study aimed at the effect of malaria parasite infection on platelets count, and platelet indices; mean platelet volume (MPV), platelets distribution width (PDW) and plateletcrit (PCT) among symptomatic subjects.

Methods: A case-control study design with a total of 112 subjects (males and females) comprising of 58 symptomatic and 54 asymptomatic children infected by malaria, age range of 0-15 years from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital were enrolled. Thick and thin film method was used to ascertain malaria parasite density.

Results: The mean values of the symptomatic malaria subjects were found to be significantly reduced in PCT, PDW and PC (0.16±0.04, 15.84±0.89 and 181.45±43.62) and significant high in MPV and MPD (9.36±1.05 and (418.80±554.40) against that of asymptomatic malaria subject (p˂0.05). The mean MPV was significantly increased in 6-10 and 11-15 years (9.35±0.90 and 9.81±1.16) when compared with 0-5 years (8.60±0.62) age range symptomatic malaria subject groups while mean PC was significantly decrease in 6-10 and 11-15 years (172.14±35.52 and 181.55±48.49) when compared to 0-5 years (204.36±36.92) age range groups. A moderate positive significant correlation between PCT versus MPV (r=0.327) while PC versus PCT shows a strong (r=0.895) positive significant correlation (p˂0.05).

Conclusions: There is significant increase MPD and MPV, decrease PC, PCT and PDW in the symptomatic group compared to the asymptomatic. It is important that platelet indices and platelet count should be included as a routine screening investigation to detect malaria parasite infection and treated accordingly.


Symptomatic malaria, Platelet count, Platelet indices, Calabar

Full Text:



Vaughan AM, Aly AS, Kappe SH. Malaria Parasite Pre-erythrocytic Stage Infection. Cell, Host & Microbe. 2012;4(3):209-18.

Caraballo H. Emergency Department Management of Mosquito-Borne illness: Malaria, Dengue, and West Nile Virus. Emergency Medicine Practice. 2014;16(5):1-23.

World Health Organization. World Malaria Report. 2015.

Fairhurst RM, Wellems TE. Malaria (Plasmodium species). In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases 8th ed. Elsevier, Philadelphia. 2015.

Chandraslekar V. Plateletcrit As a Screening Tool for Detection of Platelet Quantitative Disorder. Journal of Hematology. 2013;2(1):22-6.

Laki K. Our Ancient Heritage in Blood Clotting and Some of its Consequences. Annuals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1972;202(1):297-307.

McMorran BJ. Platelet Factor 4 and Duffy Antigen Required for Platelet Killing of Plasmodium falciparum. Science. 2012;338(6112):1348-51.

Hoffbrand AV, Moss PAH, Petit JE. Essential Haematology. 2006.

Paulus JM. Platelet size in man. Blood. 2013;46(3):321-36.

Osselaer JC, Jamart J, Scheiff. Platelet distribution width for differential diagnosis of thrombocytosis. 1997;43:1072-6.

Yang A, Pizzuli L, Luderitz B. Mean platelet volume as marker of restenosis after percutaneous transluminal coronary ingloplasty in patients with stable and unstable angina pectoris. Thrombosis Research. 2006;117:371-7.

Wiwanitki V. Plateletcrit, Mean Platelet Volume, Platelet Distribution width, its expected values and correlation with parallel red blood cell parameters. Clinical Applied Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2004;10:175-8.

Adibi P, Faghih Imani E, Talaei M, Ghanei M. Population based platelet reference values for an Iranian population. International Journal of Laboratory Hematology. 2007;29(3):195-9.

Bhatt S, Wiess D, Cameron E, Bisanzio D, Mappin B. The effect of malaria control on Plasmodium falciparium in Africa. Nature. 2005;256(7572):207-11.

Richter J, Franken G, Mehlron H, Labisch A, Hadssinger D. What is the evidence for the existence of Plasmodium vale hypnozoites? Parasitology Research. 2010;107(6):1285-90.

Okpokam DC, Ukeme UI, Anthony OE. Prevalence of Haemoparasites in Blood Donors; Calabar, Nigeria Perspective. Asian Journal of Biological Sciences. 2019;12(3):385-95.

World Health Organization. World Malaria Report. 2014

Cheesbrough M. District Laboratory Practice in Tropical Countries. 1998.

Hind LA, Roskos LK, Merzec UM, Carter RA, Cherry JK, Sundell B et al. Effect of megakaryocyte growth and development factor on platelet production, platelet life span and platelet function in healthy human volunteers. Blood. 2000;95(8):2514-22.

Ifeanyichukwu MO, Esan AJ. Evaluation of Blood Cells and Platelets in Plasmordium Falcipanim Malaria Infected Individuals. International Journal of Haematological Disorders. 2014;1:49-54.

Zaccheaus AJ, Ekanem EN. The effect of Plasmodium falciparium malaria on platelet count. Highland Medical Research Journal. 2005;3(2):15-23.