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Results of studies on the associations of maternal helminth infection and malaria-helminth co-infection on birth outcomes have been mixed. A group of 696 pregnant women from the Kwale district in Kenya were recruited and tested for malaria and helminth infection at delivery. Birthweight was documented for 664 infants. A total of 42.7% of the mothers were infected with Plasmodium falciparum, 30.6% with Schistosoma haematobium, 36.2% with filariasis, 31.5% with hookworm, and 5.9% with Trichuris trichiura; co-infection was present in 46.7%. Low birthweight (LBW) (weight < 2,500 grams) was present in 15.4% of the offspring, and 8.3% had a weight z-score ≤ 2 SD below the World Health Organization mean. Only gravida, age, and locale had a significant association with LBW. The high prevalence of maternal infection coupled with a higher than expected percentage of LBW highlight a need for further investigation of the association of maternal co-infection with LBW.
Financial support: This study was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of Health (grant no. A1064687).
Authors' addresses: Jessica K. Fairley, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine, Medical Office Tower, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: email@example.com. Donal Bisanzio and Uriel Kitron, Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Math and Science Center, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Charles H. King, Peter Mungai, Christopher L. King, and Indu Malhotra, Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve University, Biomedical Research Building, Cleveland, OH, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. Eric Muchiri, Division of Vector Borne Diseases, Nairobi, Kenya, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.