Volume 93, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Anemia represents a substantial problem for children living in areas with limited resources and significant parasite burden. We performed a cross-sectional study of 254 Kenyan preschool- and early school-age children in a setting endemic for multiple chronic parasitic infections to explore mechanisms of their anemia. Complete venous blood cell counts revealed a high prevalence of local childhood anemia (79%). Evaluating the potential links between low hemoglobin and socioeconomic factors, nutritional status, hemoglobinopathy, and/or parasite infection, we identified age < 9 years (odds ratio [OR]: 12.0, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.4, 33) and the presence of asymptomatic malaria infection (OR: 6.8, 95% CI: 2.1, 22) as the strongest independent correlates of having anemia. A total of 130/155 (84%) of anemic children with iron studies had evidence of iron-deficiency anemia (IDA), 16% had non-IDA; 50/52 of additionally tested anemic children met soluble transferrin-receptor (sTfR) criteria for combined anemia of inflammation (AI) with IDA. Children in the youngest age group had the greatest odds of iron deficiency (OR: 10.0, 95% CI: 3.9, 26). Although older children aged 9–11 years had less anemia, they had more detectable malaria, infection, hookworm, and proportionately more non-IDA. Anemia in this setting appears multifactorial such that chronic inflammation and iron deficiency need to be addressed together as part of integrated management of childhood anemia.


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  • Received : 12 May 2015
  • Accepted : 30 Jul 2015
  • Published online : 04 Nov 2015

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