The relationship between Plasmodium infection, anaemia and nutritional status in asymptomatic children aged under five years living in stable transmission zones in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Van geertruyden, Jean-Pierre
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Malaria journal. - London
, 9 p.
University of Antwerp
Background: Malaria is preventable and treatable when recommended interventions are properly implemented. Thus, diagnosis and treatment focus on symptomatic individuals while asymptomatic Plasmodium infection (PI) plays a role in the sustainability of the transmission and may also have an impact on the morbidity of the disease in terms of anaemia, nutritional status and even cognitive development of children. The objective of this study was to assess PI prevalence and its relationship with known morbidity factors in a vulnerable but asymptomatic stratum of the population. Methods: A simple random sample, household survey in asymptomatic children under the age of five was conducted from April to September 2012 in two health areas of the health zone of Mont Ngafula 1, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Results: The PI prevalence were 30.9% (95% CI: 26.5-35.9) and 14.3% (95% CI: 10.5-18.1) in Cite Pumbu and Kindele health areas, respectively, (OR: 2.7; p < 0.001). All were Plasmodium falciparum infected and 4% were co-infected with Plasmodium malariae. In Cite Pumbu and Kindele, the prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin < 11 g/dL) was 61.6% (95% CI: 56.6-66.5) and 39.3% (95% CI: 34.0-44.6), respectively, (OR: 2.5; p < 0.001). The health area of Cite Pumbu had 32% (95% CI: 27.5-37.0) of chronic malnutrition (HAZ score <= -2SD) compared to 5.1% (95% CI: 2.8-7.6) in Kindele. PI was predictor factor for anaemia (aOR: 3.5, p = 0.01) and within infected children, there was an inverse relationship between parasite density and haemoglobin level (beta = -5*10(-5), p < 0.001). Age older than 12 months (aOR: 3.8, p = 0.01), presence of anaemia (aOR: 3.4, p = 0.001), chronic malnutrition (aOR: 1.8, p = 0.01), having a single parent/guardian (aOR: 1.6, p = 0.04), and the non-use of insecticide-treated nets (aOR: 1.7, p = 0.04) were all predictors for PI in the overall population. Conclusion: PI in asymptomatic children was correlated with anaemia and chronic malnutrition and was thus a harmful condition in the study population. Malaria control initiatives should not only focus on treatment of symptomatic infections but also take into consideration asymptomatic but infected children.