Birthweight in offspring of mothers with high prevalence of helminth and malaria infection in coastal Kenya
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.
Fairley, J. K., Bisanzio, D., King, C. H., Kitron, U., Mungai, P., Muchiri, E., ... Malhotra, I. (2013). Birthweight in offspring of mothers with high prevalence of helminth and malaria infection in coastal Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 88(1), 48-53. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0371