Study of malaria diagnostics during Ebola outbreak suggests feasibility
Malaria remains a public health concern for those countries that have been largely impacted by the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia combined accounted for approximately nine million cases, with 30,566 fatalities reported in 2012. Because of this, when patients receive treatment at an EVD treatment unit (ETU), they will also be given presumptive malaria treatment.
This study found that across 1,058 samples collected between Oct. 12, 2014, and March 28, 2015, from EVD patients in Liberia, 47 cases consisted of both the Ebola virus and malaria parasites, and 243 individuals were found to only have malaria.
According to researchers, it can be estimated that malaria would increase in regions affected by the outbreak due to lacking malaria control methods in response to growing need for EVD response.
Across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, there are 28,575 EVD cases that have been reported as suspected, probable and confirmed, with 11,313 fatalities as of Oct. 28. The study states that this outbreak also heavily impacted the public health infrastructure and, as a result, many succumbed to otherwise treatable conditions.
Researchers recommend that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection methods for malaria should be utilized as they limit the amount of time that samples are handled by laboratory staff. Researchers also report that utilizing this method is feasible during outbreak situations.