Volume 65, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Following a study showing an association between Ascaris and protection from cerebral malaria, we conducted a cross-sectional study comparing admission hemoglobin concentrations in relation to exposure to helminth infection in 2 separate groups of patients: 111 cerebral malaria cases and 180 mild Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases. Hookworm infections were excluded. Mean hemoglobin concentrations were significantly lower in helminth-infected patients compared to those without helminths, both in the cerebral malaria group (10.1+/-3 [n = 47] versus 11.2+/-2.4 g/dl [n = 64], P = 0.04) and the mild malaria group (11+/-2.5 [n = 89] vs 12.2+/-2.7 g/dl [n = 91], P = 0.004). Median reticulocyte counts, only available in the cerebral malaria group, were lower in helminth-infected patients compared to those without helminths (15,340/23,760 per microl, P = 0.03). Adjustments for confounders such as body mass index did not alter these associations. These data are consistent with a mechanism causing anemia linked to differences in the immune response of helminth-infected patients during malaria.


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