Modeling the relationship between the population prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and anemia

Ilona A. Carneiro, Thomas Smith, John P. A. Lusingu, Robert Malima, Jürg Utzinger, and Chris J. Drakeley. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 75(Suppl 2), 2006, pp. 82–89
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Abstract. More than half of all young children and pregnant women are affected by anemia. Although its etiology is multi-factorial, malaria is likely to be a major contributor to chronic anemia in endemic areas. Recent reviews have examined the effect of community-based malaria control interventions on anemia. We analyze how the prevalence of anemia depends on that of Plasmodium falciparum malaria by developing models of the excess risk of anemia caused by malaria at a population level in 24 villages in northeastern Tanzania. In that setting, we estimated that the prevalence of a hemoglobin level < 8 g/dL attributable to malaria was 4.6% in infants, 4.1% in children one year of age, 2.7% in children two years of age, and 3.3% in women of childbearing age. Successful validation of our models in other malaria-endemic settings would enable their use for predicting the impact of malaria control interventions on anemia, and for long-term monitoring and surveillance of malaria.