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Br J Haematol. 1980 Oct;46(2):171-83.

The anaemia of P. falciparum malaria.


The haematological changes in a group of young Gambian children with P. falciparum malaria have been analysed. In children with acute infection anaemia was most marked during the period after treatment. Although many of these patients developed a positive direct Coombs test during this period of the illness it is not clear whether the anaemia which occurs after treatment has an immune basis. A second group of children showed quite different haematological findings. They appear to have a more chronic form of P. falciparum malaria infection, were profoundly anaemic at presentation, showed gross dyserythropoietic changes in their bone marrows, and had a full reticulocyte response and rise in haemoglobin after treatment. A third group of children were encountered whose haematological abnormalities were intermediate to those of the acute and chronic groups. These findings indicate that the patho-physiological mechanisms responsible for the anaemia of P. falciparum malaria are different at different stages of the illness.

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