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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases