Relationships between malaria prevalence and malaria-related morbidity in school children from two villages in central Africa.

P DeloronInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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P RingwaldInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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A J LutyInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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A RenautInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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T N MinhInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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J R MbessyInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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P MilletInstitut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale Unite 13 et Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Paris, France.

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To investigate the relationship between parasite prevalence and malaria-related morbidity, we carried out a comparative study among cohorts of school children from two villages, Dienga, Gabon, and Pouma, Cameroon, both located in malaria-endemic areas. Seven to 17 year-old children attending primary schools were similarly followed-up at each site to evaluate the frequency of malaria attacks. Follow-up involved daily temperature recording (and blood smears in the case of fever) and preparation of blood smears every two weeks. In Pouma, 186 children were followed-up for six months. In Dienga, 228 children were followed-up for nine months. The mean prevalence rate of Plasmodium falciparum infections (as assessed by the blood smears) was twice as high in Pouma compared with Dienga (45.2% versus 26.8%; P < 0.0001), whereas the monthly malaria attack rate (as assessed by the daily surveillance) was twice as high in Dienga compared with Pouma (21.5% versus 41.4%; P = 0.003). The possible implication of several parameters that may differ between the two areas, such as the malaria transmission level, the economical and social status of the inhabitants, the characteristics of infecting parasite strains, and the genetic background of the population, is discussed.

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