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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Feb;84(2):267-9. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0139.

Spontaneous postpartum clearance of Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia in pregnant women, Benin.

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Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Unité Mixte de Recherche 216, Paris, France.


The question of malaria in the postpartum period is controversial. Malaria was investigated during a randomized trial of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy in Benin. Women infected at delivery were tested for parasitemia in the early postpartum period; they had not received treatment unless they were symptomatic. Among the 35 of 1,346 infected women, parasitologic follow-up results could not be interpreted in 15 because they were treated for symptoms, 18 cleared parasitemia spontaneously within five days postpartum, and 2 had a strong decrease in parasitemia before being treated. Because the placenta is the privileged site for sequestration of parasites, it facilitates their persistence during pregnancy, and its elimination may rapidly induce their clearance.

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