A case report of transfusion-transmitted Plasmodium malariae from an asymptomatic non-immune traveller

EE Brouwer, Jaap van Hellemond, Perry van Genderen, E Slot, Leo Lieshout, LG Visser, PJ Wismans

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Abstract

Background: The incidence of transfusion-transmitted malaria is very low in non-endemic countries due to strict donor selection. The optimal strategy to mitigate the risk of transfusion-transmitted malaria in non-endemic countries without unnecessary exclusion of blood donations is, however, still debated and asymptomatic carriers of Plasmodium species may still be qualified to donate blood for transfusion purposes. Case description: In April 2011, a 59-year-old Dutch woman with spiking fevers for four days was diagnosed with a Plasmodium malariae infection. The patient had never been abroad, but nine weeks before, she had received red blood cell transfusion for anaemia. The presumptive diagnosis of transfusion-transmitted quartan malaria was made and subsequently confirmed by retrospective PCR analysis of donor blood samples. The donor was a 36-year-old Dutch male who started donating blood in May 2006. Hi Discussion: This case demonstrates that P. malariae infections in non-immune travellers may occur without symptoms and persist subclinically for years. In addition, this case shows that these infections pose a threat to transfusion safety when subclinically infected persons donate blood after their return in a non-endemic malaria region. Since thrombocytopenia was the only abnormality associated with the subclinical malaria infection in the donor, this case illustrates that an unexplained low platelet count after a visit to malaria-endemic countries may be an indicator for asymptomatic malaria even when caused by non-falciparum Plasmodium species.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalMalaria Journal
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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  • EMC MM-04-28-01

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