In many developing countries more than half of women are anemic and hookworms may be an important etiology. Recently the WHO recommended that deworming be included in antenatal care but the need for and efficacy of this intervention must be further clarified. We examined 453 rural Nepalese women during mid-pregnancy to assess their iron and health status. The prevalence of anemia (hemoglobin (Hb) <11.0 g/dl) was 68.4% (31.8% mild, 32.2% moderate, 4.4% severe) and the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (Hb<11.0 g/dl and erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) >80 μmole/mole heme) was 39.5%. The prevalence of hookworm infection was 77.9%, wilh 24.4% moderate to heavy infections. There was a strong inverse correlation between Hb and EP levels (r=-0.66, p<0.001) and among women infected with hookworm, both iron indicators were significantly correlated with the intensity of hookworm infection (Hb: r=-0.31, p<0.0001; EP: r=0.25, p<0.0001). When subjects were classified by hookworm burden (2000-epg intervals), there was an inverse linear relationship with Hb and a direct linear relationship with EP (for Hb and EP, p<0.0001). Hb levels dropped from 10.5 g/dl among those without hookworm infection to 8.7 g/dl among the most heavily infected women. In these women 31.8% of moderate to severe anemia and 29.2% of iron deficiency anemia was attributable to hookworm infection. Hookworm infection is an important cause of maternal anemia in rural south Asia and deworming trials are warranted.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology