Investigation of pregnancy-associated malaria by microscopy, rapid diagnostic test and PCR in Bandundu, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The study was conducted to investigate malaria prevalence among a group of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who received intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP).
A total of 250 women from Bandundu city who received two doses of IPTp-SP were enrolled in the survey. Blood samples were collected at the time of delivery and malaria prevalence was determined using microscopy, rapid diagnostic test (RDT), and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Malaria infection was detected in 81 (32.4%), 93 (37.2%), and 92 (36.8%) samples by microscopy, RDT, and PCR, respectively. Among 92 samples, P. falciparum mono-infection (n=87; 94.5%), P. falciparum+P. vivax (n=2; 2.2%) and P. falciparum+P. malariae (n=1; 1.1%) mixed infections, and P. vivax mono-infection (n=2; 2.2%) were detected. Prevalence of malaria was not affected by age and number of pregnancies (p>0.05). Microscopy and RDT, either alone (κ=0.29; p<0.001) or in combination (κ=0.33; p<0.001) showed a fair agreement with PCR.
Our findings indicate that two doses of IPTp-SP did not protect the women against malaria in the DRC, and support the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that ensure a minimum of three doses of SP in pregnancy.