Volume 84, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been shown to be more sensitive in detecting low-level parasitemia than conventional blood film microscopy. We estimated the prevalence of congenital malaria using nested PCR amplification of the small subunit 18S RNA gene to detect low-level parasitemia and identify species in 204 mother–neonate pairs. Cord-blood parasitemia was detected in four babies by PCR, giving a prevalence of 2.0%. The newborns of primidgravidae were more susceptible to congenital malaria than those of multigravidae ( < 0.0001). There was a strong correlation between placental malaria and congenital malaria (odds ratio = 10.1, 95% confidence interval = 1.3–76.1, = 0.0487). We conclude that the prevalence of congenital malaria in Calabar detected by PCR is lower than has been reported in this environment through microscopy.


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  • Received : 04 May 2010
  • Accepted : 13 Dec 2010
  • Published online : 04 Mar 2011

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