Volume 62, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The relative importance of acute high-density versus persistent low-density Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia in contributing to the public health problem of malarial anemia remains unclear. The Asembo Bay Cohort Project in western Kenya collected monthly hemoglobin (Hb) and parasitologic measurements and biweekly assessments of antimalarial drug use among 942 singleton live births between 1992 and 1996. A mixed-model analysis appropriate for repeated measures data was used to study how time-varying parasitemia and antimalarial drug exposures influenced mean Hb profiles. Incidence of World Health Organization-defined severe malarial anemia was 28.1 per 1,000 person-years. Among children aged less than 24 months, concurrent parasitemia was significantly associated with lower mean Hb, especially when compared to children with no concurrent parasitemia. Increased densities of the 90-day history of parasitemia preceding Hb measurement was more strongly associated with mean Hb levels than concurrent parasitemia density. While the highest quartile of 90-day parasitemia history was associated with lowest mean Hb levels, children in the lowest 90-day exposure quartile still experienced significantly lower Hb levels when compared to children who remained parasitemia-free for the same 90-day period. The results highlight the importance of collecting and analyzing longitudinal Hb and parasitologic data when studying the natural history of malarial anemia.


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