Health experts say typhoid and malaria infections are often wrongly diagnosed by some laboratories in Nigeria, noting that steps should be taken to curb the misdiagnosis of the health conditions.
The experts said the fact that it is now uncommon to hear that people are diagnosed of having both typhoid and malaria is an indication that such diagnosis could be wrong.
They noted that it is wrong to diagnose malaria and typhoid through a single Widal test.
According to them, malaria and typhoid are caused by two different entities and rarely coinfect people.
They said that while it is possible to be infected with both malaria and typhoid at the same time, Nigerians must know that it is a very rare occurrence.
The experts urged laboratories scientists to be more painstaking with their diagnosis, describing random test results confirming malaria and typhoid in one person as being uncritical.
According to them, the Widal test that is usually used in testing for typhoid is outdated and does not give an accurate result.
They stressed that to appropriately test for typhoid, a culture of the urine, blood, and stool is most appropriate.
According to the World Health Organisation, typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It is usually spread through contaminated food or water.
The global health agency noted that symptoms of typhoid include prolonged fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhoea.
Malaria, WHO also noted, is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, Ibeh Isaiah, a professor of Microbiology and Medical Laboratory Science in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Benin, said that malaria and typhoid are caused by two separate entities, stressing that there is no one single test that can detect the two at the same time.
“The fact is that malaria is caused by one entity while typhoid is caused by another entity. Therefore, no one test could detect the two organisms.
“We have separate tests to identify typhoid and separate tests to identify malaria. Therefore, if anybody runs one single test and brings the result that you have malaria and typhoid, you should ask the person for clarification.