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Elevated Levels of Alanine Aminotransferase and Hepatitis A in the Context of a Pediatric Malaria Vaccine Trial in a Village in Mali

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  • 1 Malaria Vaccine Development Branch, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Malaria Research and Training Center, Department of Epidemiology of Parasitic Diseases, and Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali

A Phase 1 study of the apical membrane antigen malaria vaccine AMA1-C1/Alhydrogel was conducted in 2–3-year-old children in a village in Mali. A high frequency of elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) caused by hepatitis A was seen, with 8 of 36 children diagnosed by specific IgM antibody over the course of the study. Hepatitis A is a common cause of asymptomatic elevations of ALT levels in children, particularly in less-developed settings. Investigators should be aware of the frequency of hepatitis A in this age group to guard against inadvertently facilitating transmission at study facilities and to properly evaluate symptomatic or asymptomatic elevations of ALT levels.

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