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Ann Trop Paediatr. 1989 Mar;9(1):17-23.

The effects on malaria of treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia with oral iron in Gambian children.

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Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa.


In order to determine whether giving iron to iron-deficient children increases their susceptibility to malaria, 213 Gambian children aged between 6 months and 5 years with iron-deficiency anaemia were randomized to receive either oral iron or placebo during the rainy season when malaria transmission is maximal. Haematological and iron measurements improved significantly in the group given iron. Regular morbidity surveys showed that fever associated with parasitaemia occurred more frequently in the iron-treated group than in the placebo group. This difference was not significant for all parasitaemias grouped together, but became significant and progressively larger for parasitaemias of ten or more positive fields per 100 high power fields (P less than 0.025), and for parasitaemias of 50 or more positive fields per 100 high power fields (P less than 0.01). Three children in the iron-treated group but none in the placebo group had more than one episode of fever and parasitaemia. Splenomegaly rates rose appreciably during the study in both groups, but in children at age 2 years the splenomegaly rate at the end of the study was significantly greater in the iron-treated group. We concluded that there is a significantly increased risk of fever associated with severe malarial parasitaemia for children with iron-deficiency anaemia given iron during the season of maximal malaria transmission in this part of The Gambia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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