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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2002 Jul;67(1):44-53.

Malaria and human immunodeficiency virus infection as risk factors for anemia in infants in Kisumu, western Kenya.

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  • 1Kenya Medical Research Institute, Center for Vector Biology and Control Research, Kisumu.


The role of maternal and pediatric infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and malaria as risk factors for anemia was determined in a birth cohort of infants born to mothers participating in a study of the interaction between placental malaria and HIV infection, in Kisumu, Kenya. Between June 1996 and April 2000, 661 infants born to 467 HIV-seropositive and 194 HIV-seronegative mothers were monitored monthly from birth. At each visit a questionnaire was completed and a blood sample was collected for the determination of hemoglobin levels and detection of malaria and HIV. Anemia was common and increased from 13.6% at one month to 75% at six months and remained high throughout the second half of infancy. Placental malaria, infant malaria, and HIV infection of the infant were all associated with infant anemia in a multivariate model, adjusting for other co-variates found to be associated with infant anemia. The HIV-infected infants with malaria parasitemia had lower mean hemoglobin levels compared with HIV-uninfected infants, or HIV-infected infants without malaria, suggesting that HIV-infected infants are particularly vulnerable to the adverse consequences of malaria at this age. Early detection and prompt treatment of infant malaria and treatment of anemia as part of the study protocol failed to prevent most of the infants from becoming anemic. Although not proven effective in this study, micronutrient supplementation should be prospectively assessed in HIV-infected infants as a means of preventing anemia.

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