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Malaria Journal

, 10:239

First Online: 16 August 2011Received: 08 October 2010Accepted: 16 August 2011


BackgroundCongenital malaria has been considered a rare event; however, recent reports have shown frequencies ranging from 3% to 54.2% among newborns of mothers who had suffered malaria during pregnancy. There are only a few references concerning the epidemiological impact of this entity in Latin-America and Colombia.

ObjectiveThe aim of the study was to measure the prevalence of congenital malaria in an endemic Colombian region and to determine some of its characteristics.

MethodsA prospective, descriptive study was carried out in the mothers who suffered malaria during pregnancy and their newborns. Neonates were clinically evaluated at birth and screened for Plasmodium spp. infection by thick smear from the umbilical cord and peripheral blood, and followed-up weekly during the first 21 days of postnatal life through clinical examinations and thick smears.

Results116 newborns were included in the study and 80 umbilical cord samples were obtained. Five cases of congenital infection were identified four caused by P. vivax and one by P. falciparum, two in umbilical cord blood and three in newborn peripheral blood. One case was diagnosed at birth and the others during follow-up. Prevalence of congenital infection was 4.3%. One of the infected newborns was severely ill, while the others were asymptomatic and apparently healthy. The mothers of the newborns with congenital malaria had been diagnosed with malaria in the last trimester of pregnancy or during delivery, and also presented placental infection.

ConclusionsCongenital malaria may be a frequent event in newborns of mothers who have suffered malaria during pregnancy in Colombia. An association was found between congenital malaria and the diagnosis of malaria in the mother during the last trimester of pregnancy or during delivery, and the presence of placental infection.

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Autor: Juan G Piñeros-Jiménez - Gonzalo Álvarez - Alberto Tobón - Margarita Arboleda - Sonia Carrero - Silvia Blair


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