Relative Contributions of Malaria, Inflammation, and Deficiencies of Iron and Vitamin A to the Burden of Anemia during Low and High Malaria Seasons in Rural Zambian Children

Maxwell A. Barffour, Kerry J. Schulze, Ng'andwe Kalungwana, William J. Moss, Keith P. West, Justin Chileshe, Ward Siamusantu, Amanda C. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To estimate the burden of anemia attributable to malaria, inflammation, and deficiency of iron or vitamin A during low and high malaria seasons among Zambian children. Study design: From a cohort of children (n = 820), 4-8 years of age participating in a randomized controlled trial of pro-vitamin A, we estimated attributable fractions for anemia (hemoglobin of <110 or 115 g/L, by age) owing to current malaria or inflammation (C-reactive protein of >5 mg/L, or α-1 acid glycoprotein of >1 g/L, or both), and current or prior iron deficiency (ID; defined as low ferritin [<12 or 15 μg/L for age <5 or >5 years] or functional ID [soluble transferrin receptor of >8.3 mg/L] or both) and vitamin A deficiency (retinol of <0.7 μmol/L), during low and high malaria seasons, using multivariate logistic regression. Serum ferritin, soluble transferrin receptor, and retinol were adjusted for inflammation. Results: The burden of anemia independently associated with current malaria, inflammation, ID, and vitamin A deficiency in the low malaria season were 12% (P < .001), 6% (P = .005), 14% (P = .001), and 2% (P = .07), respectively, and 32% (P < .001), 15% (P < .001), 10% (P = .06), and 2% (P = .06), respectively, in the high malaria season. In both seasons, functional ID was independently associated with more anemia (approximately 11%) than low ferritin (approximately 4%). Anemia and ID in the low malaria season, accounted for 20% (P < .001) and 4% (P = .095) of the anemia in the subsequent high malaria season. Conclusions: Anemia in this population is strongly linked to malaria, inflammation, and functional ID, and to a lesser extent, low iron stores. Integrated control strategies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-81.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume213
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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