The profile of malaria and intestinal parasites among refugees attending the Denis Hurley Centre in central Durban in 2014.
The majority of the refugee population congregate and live in major South African cities, some in overcrowded housing without access to basic health care and social services. These conditions put them at risk of transmission and spread of communicable diseases both amongst themselves and in the population they come into contact with. Therefore, knowledge of the burden of communicable diseases among them is crucial. In South Africa, there is limited data available on the prevalence of malaria and intestinal parasites in refugee populations. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of malaria and intestinal parasites among refugees attending the Denis Hurley Centre in Central Durban in South Africa in 2014. Three articles analyse 303 participants, who attended the Denis Hurley Centre, Emmanuel Cathedral Parish in Central Durban, aged 18 years and above, provided written consent and responded to a questionnaire on their demographic details. The presence of malaria, intestinal parasites and haematological profiles of the participants were analysed using Rapid test detection kits, microscopy and the Sysmex XE 5000 automated haematology analyser. The results confirm the presence of asymptomatic malaria (prevalence 3.8%) in the refugee population living in the city. The majority of those infected originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by Burundi and Rwanda. More than 90% of the infections were due to Plasmodium falciparum. The prevalence of intestinal parasite infection among 270 participants was 18.8%. Common parasites identified were hookworm and A. lumbricoides. The results showed eosinophillia in 40.2% of 92 participants who were screened for haematological parameters. The mean absolute haemoglobin (Hb) level was reduced in 6.5% of the malaria positive patients (9.2 g/dl) with an extremely low packed cell volume (PCV) of 28.3%. While the total non-malaria infected cases 93.5% had a normal mean absolute Hb value of 12.6 g/dl and a slightly low packed cell volume value of 38 %. Results from the present study confirm the presence of and provided useful information on the prevalence of asymptomatic malaria and chronic intestinal parasites in the refugees attending the Denis Hurley Centre in Central Durban.
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