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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2006 Jun;93(3):225-32. Epub 2006 Apr 13.

Pregnancy outcomes in women with or without placental malaria infection.

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  • 1School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess delivery outcomes in women with placental malaria who presented at public hospitals in Kisumu, a holoendemic region in western Kenya.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study using both histology and molecular biology was conducted with 90 consecutive pregnant women who presented at 3 hospitals during a 2-week period. Data collectors completed standardized questionnaires using each patient's hospital record and physical examination results, and registered birth indices such as weight, head circumference, and weight-head ratio. Malaria infection of the placenta was assessed using a molecular biology approach (for genomic differences among parasite species) as well as histology techniques. Of the 5 histologic classes of placental infection, class 1 corresponds to active infection and class 4 to past infection; class 2 and 3 to active chronic infection; and class 5 to uninfected individuals. Plasmodium species typing was determined by polymerase chain reaction amplification of the parasite's genome.

RESULTS:

In newborns at term, low birth weight was directly associated with classes 2 and 4 of placental infection (P = 0.053 and P = 0.003, respectively), and differences in birth weight remained significant between the 5 classes (P < 0.001) even after adjusting for parity and mother's age. Plasmodium falciparum was the only detected parasite.

CONCLUSIONS:

In Kisumu, infection with P. falciparum is an important cause of low birth weight and morbidity when it is associated with histologic classes 2 and 4 of placental infection. Moreover, polymerase chain reaction assays should be supported by ministries of health as an ancillary method of collecting data for malaria control during pregnancy and providing a baseline for future interventions.

PMID:
16626713
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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