A more appropriate white blood cell count for estimating malaria parasite density in Plasmodium vivax patients in northeastern Myanmar

Huaie Liu, Guohua Feng, Weilin Zeng, Xiaomei Li, Yao Bai, Shuang Deng, Yonghua Ruan, James Morris, Siman Li, Zhaoqing Yang, Liwang Cui

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6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The conventional method of estimating parasite densities employ an assumption of 8000 white blood cells (WBCs)/μl. However, due to leucopenia in malaria patients, this number appears to overestimate parasite densities. In this study, we assessed the accuracy of parasite density estimated using this assumed WBC count in eastern Myanmar, where Plasmodium vivax has become increasingly prevalent. From 256 patients with uncomplicated P. vivax malaria, we estimated parasite density and counted WBCs by using an automated blood cell counter. It was found that WBC counts were not significantly different between patients of different gender, axillary temperature, and body mass index levels, whereas they were significantly different between age groups of patients and the time points of measurement. The median parasite densities calculated with the actual WBC counts (1903/μl) and the assumed WBC count of 8000/μl (2570/μl) were significantly different. We demonstrated that using the assumed WBC count of 8000 cells/μl to estimate parasite densities of P. vivax malaria patients in this area would lead to an overestimation. For P. vivax patients aged five years and older, an assumed WBC count of 5500/μl best estimated parasite densities. This study provides more realistic assumed WBC counts for estimating parasite densities in P. vivax patients from low-endemicity areas of Southeast Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-156
Number of pages5
JournalActa Tropica
Volume156
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases

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    Liu, H., Feng, G., Zeng, W., Li, X., Bai, Y., Deng, S., Ruan, Y., Morris, J., Li, S., Yang, Z., & Cui, L. (2016). A more appropriate white blood cell count for estimating malaria parasite density in Plasmodium vivax patients in northeastern Myanmar. Acta Tropica, 156, 152-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.01.018