Volume 62, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Malaria and anemia are common in pregnant African women. We screened 4,764 Malawian women at first antenatal visits for malaria and anemia. A total of 42.7% had a malaria infection, which was more common and of higher density in primigravidae (prevalence = 47.3%, geometric mean = 332 parasites/microl) and teenagers (49.8%, 390/microl) than in multigravidae (40.4%, 214/microl) or older women (40.6%, 227/microl). However, 35% of gravida 3+ women were parasitemic. A total of 57.2% of the women was anemic (hemoglobin < 11 g/dl), with moderate anemia (7.0-8.9 g/dl) in 14.9% and severe anemia (< 7 g/dl) in 3.2%. Prevalences of malaria and anemia were highest in the rainy season. Women with moderate/severe anemia had higher parasite prevalences and densities than women with mild/no anemia. Logistic regression showed that age, season, and trimester of presentation were significantly associated with the prevalence of malaria, but gravidity was not. In this urban setting, age and season are more important than gravidity as predictors of malaria at first antenatal visit, and parasitemia is frequent in women of all gravidities.


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