Volume 100, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Despite recent large-scale investments, malaria remains a major public health concern. Few studies have examined congenital malaria, defined as the presence of malaria parasitemia within the first 7 days of life, in endemic areas. This study aimed to determine the prevalence, to describe the clinical presentation, and to examine factors associated with congenital malaria in newborns aged up to 7 days attending Tororo General Hospital in Uganda. A total of 261 mother/baby pairs were recruited in this cross-sectional study. Giemsa-stained thick blood smears for malaria parasites and rapid malaria diagnostic tests were performed on capillary blood samples from all newborns and mothers, as well as on placental and cord samples from newborns delivered in the hospital. The prevalence of congenital malaria in the newborns was 16/261 (6.1%). No single clinical feature was associated with congenital malaria. However, there were associations between congenital malaria and maternal parasitemia ( < 0.001), gravidity of one ( = 0.03), maternal age < 19 years ( = 0.01), cord blood parasitemia ( = 0.01), and placental malaria ( = 0.02). In conclusion, congenital malaria is not rare in Uganda and there are no obvious clinical features associated with it in the newborn. Based on these findings, we recommend strengthening malaria prevention during pregnancy to reduce the occurrence of congenital malaria in newborns.


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  • Received : 29 Apr 2017
  • Accepted : 02 Feb 2019
  • Published online : 11 Mar 2019

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