In areas endemic for malaria, pregnant women frequently present with a placenta that has been parasitized by Plasmodium falciparum, an infection associated with a reduction in the birth weight of the offspring.
However, the impact of placental infection on malaria-related morbidity during the infant's first years of life has not been investigated.
Between 1993 and 1995,197 children in southern Cameroon were followed weekly clinically and monthly parasitologically.
The dates of first positive blood smear and the evolution of the parasite prevalence rates were compared between infants born to mothers presenting with (n=42) and without (n=155) P. falciparum infection of the placenta.
Infants born to placenta-infected mothers were more likely to develop a malaria infection between 4 and 6 months of age ; then the difference progressively disappeared.
Similarly, parasite prevalence rates were higher in placenta-infected infants from 5 to 8 months of age.
Thus, malarial infection of the placenta seems to result in a higher susceptibility of infants to the parasite.
This was not related to maternally transmitted antibodies, as specific antibody levels were similar in both groups of infants.
A better understanding of the involved mechanisms may have important implications for the development of malaria control strategies.
Mots-clés Pascal : Paludisme, Protozoose, Parasitose, Infection, Morbidité, Nourrisson, Homme, Epidémiologie, Plasmodium falciparum, Apicomplexa, Protozoa, Placenta, Mère, Gestation, Cameroun, Afrique
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Malaria, Protozoal disease, Parasitosis, Infection, Morbidity, Infant, Human, Epidemiology, Plasmodium falciparum, Apicomplexa, Protozoa, Placenta, Mother, Pregnancy, Cameroon, Africa
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 98-0006148
Code Inist : 002B05E02B4. Création : 17/04/1998.