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Malaria and Intestinal Helminth Co-infection Among Pregnant Women in Ghana: Prevalence and Risk Factors

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  • 1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana; Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; Department of Biochemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; Division of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama; College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia

Both malaria and intestinal helminths are endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, and their co-infection occurs commonly. This cross-sectional study assessed the prevalence of malaria and intestinal helminth co-infection in a sample of > 700 pregnant women in Ghana and identified risk factors for co-infection. The prevalence of malaria infection, intestinal helminth infection(s), and co-infection was 36.3%, 25.7%, and 16.6%, respectively. Women with intestinal helminth infection(s) were 4.8 times more likely to have malaria infection. Young age, low income, being single, and being primigravid were each associated with increased odds of co-infection. These associations were present when assessed separately for primi- and multigravid women, but the strength of associations varied considerably for the two groups of women. Young age had the strongest association among both primigravid (odds ratio = 5.2) and multigravid (odds ratio = 3.2) women. This study shows relatively high prevalence rates of malaria, intestinal helminths, and co-infection in pregnant women in Ghana.

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