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BMC Infectious Diseases

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BACKGROUND: The effects of helminth co-infection on malaria in humans remain uncertain. This study aimed to evaluate the nature of association of intestinal helminths with prevalence and clinical outcomes of Plasmodium infection.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study involving 1,065 malaria suspected febrile patients was conducted at Dore Bafeno Health Center, Southern Ethiopia, from December 2010 to February 2011. Plasmodium and intestinal helminth infections were diagnosed using Giemsa-stained blood films and Kato-Katz technique, respectively. Haemoglobin level was determined using a haemocue machine.

RESULTS: Among 1,065 malaria suspected febrile patients, 28.8% were positive for Plasmodium parasites (P. falciparum =13.0%, P. vivax =14.5%, P. falciparum and P. vivax =1.3%). Among 702 patients who provided stool samples, 53.8%, 31.6% and 19.4% were infected with intestinal helminths, Plasmodium alone and with both Plasmodium and intestinal helminths, respectively. The prevalence of infections with Ascaris lumbricoides (A. lumbricoides), Trichuris trichiura (T. trichiura), Schistosoma mansoni (S. mansoni) and hookworm (9.8%) were 35.9%, 15.8%, 11.7% and 9.8%, respectively. Out of the 222 (31.6%) Plasmodium infected cases, 9 (4.1%) had severe malaria. P. falciparum infection was more common in febrile patients infected with A. lumbricoides alone (21.3%), T. trichiura alone (23.1%) and S. mansoni alone (23.1%) compared to those without intestinal helminth infections (9.3%) (p

CONCLUSIONS: Infections with A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and S. mansoni were positively associated with P. falciparum infection. However, further studies are required to investigate how these helminths could contribute to increased prevalence of P. falciparum infection.



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