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In patients with malaria, parasitaemia is usually estimated by assuming 8000 white cell counts (WCC) per microlitre of blood. In a sample of 3044 African children under 5 years of age with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, parasitaemia estimated using standardised WCC was compared to parasitaemia calculated based on each child's own WCC. The two methods produced comparable results. However, WCC were >8000 in under-fives with an inverse relationship with age, resulting in the standard approximation method significantly underestimating parasitaemia in the youngest age group and overestimating parasitaemia in the oldest age groups.

Original publication




Journal article


Tropical medicine & international health : TM & IH

Publication Date





551 - 554


UNICEF/UNDP/WB/WHO Special Programme for Research & Training in Tropical Diseases, Geneva, Switzerland.


Animals, Humans, Plasmodium falciparum, Parasitemia, Malaria, Falciparum, Leukocyte Count, Age Factors, Aging, Reference Values, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn