8. Effect of iron supplementation and malaria prophylaxis in infants on Plasmodium falciparum genotypes and multiplicity of infection

Beck, H.-P ; Felger, I. ; Vounatsou, P. ; Hirt, R. ; Tanner, M. ; Alonso, P. ; Menendez, C.

In: Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 1999, vol. 93, no. Supplement_1, p. 41-45

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    During a randomized placebo-controlled trial of chemoprophylaxis against Plasmodium falciparum malaria and iron supplementation, in infants living under conditions of intense transmission, all samples of P. falciparum obtained from children aged 5 and 8 months were genotyped by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis for the msp2 locus. One hundred and six blood samples were analysed for the number of concurrent infections (multiplicity), and the allelic family of each msp2 genotype was determined. Mean multiplicity of infection was, overall, 2·76 infections/child, and it was significantly reduced in infants receiving chemoprophylaxis. This finding might help to explain the rebound effect in morbidity observed after prophylaxis was ended. Iron supplementation did not affect multiplicity of infection. In infants receiving placebo only, or placebo and iron supplementation, a significant positive association was observed between the number of infections and parasite densities (Spearman's ϱ = 0·25, P − 0·047). This association was lost in the group receiving chemoprophylaxis alone, or in combination with iron. This study showed a significant association of FC27-like msp2 alleles with prospective risk of clinical malaria in children (relative risk = 1·487, P = 0·013). Such an association was also found for the present risk of clinical malaria in infants receiving prophylaxis (odds ratio = 3·84, P = 0·026), which might imply that chemoprophylaxis may impair the development of premunition