Asymptomatic malaria, growth status, and anaemia among children in Lao People’s Democratic Republic: a cross-sectional studyReportar como inadecuado

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Malaria Journal

, 15:499

First Online: 18 October 2016Received: 02 May 2016Accepted: 05 October 2016DOI: 10.1186-s12936-016-1548-3

Cite this article as: Akiyama, T., Pongvongsa, T., Phrommala, S. et al. Malar J 2016 15: 499. doi:10.1186-s12936-016-1548-3


BackgroundAsymptomatic malaria can be observed in both stable endemic areas and unstable transmission areas. However, although much attention has been given to acute malaria infections, relatively little attention has been paid to asymptomatic malaria. Nonetheless, because the asymptomatic host serves as a reservoir for the malaria parasite, asymptomatic malaria is now recognized as an important obstacle to malaria elimination. Asymptomatic malaria is also associated with anaemia, a global public health problem with serious consequences on human health as well as social and economic development. In Lao People’s Democratic Republic Lao PDR, malaria, anaemia, and malnutrition are serious public health concerns. However, few studies have focused on the relationship between these variables. Therefore, this study investigated the relationship between asymptomatic malaria, growth status, and the prevalence of anaemia among children aged 120 months old or younger in rural villages in Lao PDR.

MethodsIn December 2010 and March 2011, data were collected from five villages in Savannakhet province. Anthropometric measurements, blood samples, and malaria rapid diagnostic tests were conducted. The presence of malaria was confirmed with polymerase chain reaction assays for Plasmodium falciparum. Underweight status, stunting, and anaemia were defined according to World Health Organization standards.

ResultsThe mean age of participants n = 319 was 88.3 months old Standard Deviation: 20.6, ranged from 30–119 months old, and 20 participants 6.3 % had an asymptomatic malaria infection, 92 28.8 % were anaemic, 123 38.6 % were underweight, and 137 42.9 % were stunted. Stunted children were more likely to be infected with asymptomatic malaria odds ratio OR 3.34, 95 % confidence interval CI 1.25–8.93, and asymptomatic malaria was associated with anaemia OR 5.17, 95 % CI 1.99–13.43.

ConclusionsThese results suggest a significant association between asymptomatic malaria and anaemia in children. Furthermore, stunted children were more likely to have lower Hb levels and to be infected with asymptomatic malaria than children without stunting. However, further studies examining the impact of asymptomatic malaria infection on children’s nutritional and development status are necessary.

KeywordsAsymptomatic malaria Anemia Plasmodium falciparum Malnutrition Stunting Underweight Lao PDR AbbreviationsCIconfidence interval


Lao PDRLao People’s Democratic Republic

ORodds ratio

PCRpolymerase chain reaction

SDstandard deviations

WHOWorld Health Organization

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Autor: Takeshi Akiyama - Tiengkham Pongvongsa - Souraxay Phrommala - Tomoyo Taniguchi - Yuba Inamine - Rie Takeuchi - Tadashi Wata


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