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Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2011;33(2):96-9. doi: 10.5581/1516-8484.20110027.

Association between anemia and subclinical infection in children in Paraíba State, Brazil.

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1
Universidade Estadual da Paraíba - UEPB, Campina Grande, PB, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

With subclinical infection, serum iron concentrations are reduced, altering the synthesis of hemoglobin, the main indicator of anemia.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between subclinical infection and anemia in children of Paraíba State.

METHODS:

This is a cross-sectional study involving 1116 children aged 6 to 59 months from nine municipalities of Paraíba State. Demographic and socioeconomic data were collected by means of a specific questionnaire. The C-reactive protein and hemoglobin levels were determined by the latex agglutination technique and automated counter, respectively. C-reactive protein values ≥ 6 mg/L were used as indicative of subclinical infection, while the presence of anemia was determined by hemoglobin values < 11.0 g/dL. The data were analyzed using the Epi Info computer program, with significance being set at 5%.

RESULTS:

Data from this research showed that 80.1% of the children belonged to families that were below the bread line, with per capita income < ½ of the minimum wage at that time (R$ 350.00 approximately US$ 175.00). The prevalences of subclinical infection and anemia were 11.3% and 36.3%, respectively. Subclinical infection was significantly associated with anemia (p-value < 0.05). There were lower levels of hemoglobin in children with C-reactive protein ≥ 6 mg/L, with a mean hemoglobin level in children with subclinical infection of 10.93 g/dL (standard deviation - SD = 1.21 g/dL) and without infection of 11.26 g/dL (SD = 1.18 g/dL) (p-value < 0.05).

CONCLUSION:

Anemia is associated with subclinical infection in this population, indicating that this is an important variable to be considered in studies of the prevalence of anemia in children.

KEYWORDS:

Anemia; Child; Hemoglobin; Infection; Public health

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