Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Malaria prevention strategies could substantially cut killer bacterial infections, study suggests

Date:
September 7, 2011
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
Interventions targeting malaria, such as insecticide-treated bed nets, antimalarial drugs and mosquito control, could substantially reduce cases of bacteraemia, which kill hundreds of thousands of children each year in Africa and worldwide.

Interventions targeting malaria, such as insecticide-treated bed nets, antimalarial drugs and mosquito control, could substantially reduce cases of bacteraemia, which kill hundreds of thousands of children each year in Africa and worldwide. This is the conclusion of research published September 7 in the Lancet and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Researchers at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, examined two major killer diseases, malaria and bacteraemia, or invasive bacterial disease, which includes severe cases of meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis. They hypothesised that malaria is the driving force behind many of the cases of bacteraemia.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers, led by Dr Anthony Scott from the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and Oxford University, took advantage of a 'genetic antimalarial' in the population -- the sickle cell gene -- to see if children carrying the gene were less likely to develop bacteraemia than children who do not carry the gene. Scientists have known for many years now that whilst carrying two copies of the sickle cell gene leads to the development of sickle cell disease, carrying just one copy confers strong protection against malaria.

"Our results seemed fairly conclusive: children with 'sickle cell trait', who have a single copy of the sickle cell gene, developed bacteraemia much less frequently than normal children who carried no copies," explains Dr Scott. "However, we needed to explore this further. We don't know exactly how children with sickle cell trait are protected against malaria -- could it be that the same immune mechanism protects against bacteraemia too? Or does malaria itself lead to bacteraemia?"

To answer this question, the researchers studied the effect of the sickle cell trait in the same population, but after malaria had been brought under control. If sickle cell trait does directly protect against bacteraemia, then children with this condition would be less likely to develop bacteraemia even in the absence of malaria.

In Kilifi, the incidence of admission to hospital with malaria fell almost 90 per cent from 28.5 to 3.45 per 1000 childhood years over the period 1999-2007. This near-eradication of malaria over a decade offered the researchers the opportunity to compare levels of invasive bacterial infections in populations of differing levels of malaria.

The researchers measured rates of bacteraemia over the same period. They found that the rate of admission to hospital with bacteraemia fell by 44 per cent, from 2.59 to 1.45 per 1000 childhood years. The key finding, however, was that among children with sickle cell disease, the protection observed against bacteraemia disappeared as malaria also disappeared.

"We showed that children with sickle cell trait, who have a natural protection against malaria, are also protected against bacteraemia, but only because they are less likely to develop malaria," says Dr Tom Williams, a senior scientist working on the research. "The gene itself is not offering direct protection. This implies very strongly that infection with malaria makes children more susceptible to bacteraemia."

The researchers estimate that, in malaria endemic areas, over half of all cases of bacteraemia can be attributed to infection with Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria.

Dr Scott adds: "In Kilifi, over one in five children with invasive bacterial infection dies. We have seen great success in tackling malaria and this has had a substantial knock-on effect in reducing cases of pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. Controlling malaria in Africa should be a priority: doing this will help us prevent childhood deaths caused by malaria but it will have the added benefit of preventing deaths that are caused by invasive bacterial infections."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anthony Scott et al. Relation between falciparum malaria and bacteraemia in Kenyan children: a population-based, case-control study and a longitudinal study. The Lancet, 7 September 2011 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60888-X

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Malaria prevention strategies could substantially cut killer bacterial infections, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906191634.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2011, September 7). Malaria prevention strategies could substantially cut killer bacterial infections, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906191634.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Malaria prevention strategies could substantially cut killer bacterial infections, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906191634.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins