Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effect of Iron Supplementation Among Children Living in Malaria-Endemic Area on Incidence of Malaria

Date:
September 3, 2013
Source:
American Medical Association (AMA)
Summary:
Children in a malaria-endemic community in Ghana who received a micronutrient powder with iron did not have an increased incidence of malaria, according to a new study. Previous research has suggested that iron supplementation for children with iron deficiency in malaria-endemic areas may increase the risk of malaria.

Children in a malaria-endemic community in Ghana who received a micronutrient powder with iron did not have an increased incidence of malaria, according to a study in the September 4 issue of JAMA. Previous research has suggested that iron supplementation for children with iron deficiency in malaria-endemic areas may increase the risk of malaria.

Related Articles


"In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality, and iron deficiency is among the most prevalent preventable nutritional deficiencies. The provision of iron to children with iron deficiency anemia can enhance motor and cognitive development and reduce the prevalence of severe anemia. However, studies have suggested that iron deficiency anemia may offer protection against malaria infection and that the provision of iron may increase malaria morbidity and mortality," according to background information in the article. "In 2006, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund released a joint statement that recommended limiting use of iron supplements (tablets or liquids) among children in malaria-endemic areas because of concern about increased malaria risk. As a result, anemia control programs were either not initiated or stopped in these areas."

Stanley Zlotkin, M.D., Ph.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and colleagues conducted a study to determine the effect of providing micronutrient powder (MNP) with or without iron on the incidence of malaria among children living in a high malaria-burden area. The randomized trial, which included children 6 to 35 months of age (n = 1,958 living in 1,552 clusters), was conducted over 6 months in 2010 in a rural community setting in central Ghana, West Africa. A cluster was defined as a compound including 1 or more households. Children were excluded if iron supplement use occurred within the past 6 months, they had severe anemia, or severe wasting. Children were randomized by cluster to receive a MNP with or without iron for 5 months followed by 1-month of further monitoring. Insecticide-treated bed nets were provided at enrollment, as well as malaria treatment when indicated.

Throughout the intervention period, adherence to the use of MNP and insecticide-treated bed nets were similar between the iron group and the no iron group. The researchers found that the overall incidence of malaria was lower in the iron group compared with the no iron group, but after adjustment for baseline values for iron deficiency and moderate anemia, these differences were no longer statistically significant. "Similar associations were found during the 5-month intervention period only for both malaria and malaria with parasite counts greater than 5000/L (severe malaria). A secondary analysis demonstrated that malaria risk was reduced among the subgroup of those in the iron group who had iron deficiency and anemia at baseline."

Overall, hospital admission rates did not differ significantly between groups. However, during the 5-month intervention period, there were more children admitted to the hospital in the iron group vs. the no iron group (156 vs. 128, respectively).

"The findings from the current study not only address a gap in the literature, but also have potentially important policy implications for countries like Ghana that have not implemented iron supplementation or fortification as part of anemia control programs in part due to the joint recommendation from the WHO and UNICEF. For ethical reasons, we ensured that all participants were not denied existing malaria prevention (insecticide-treated bed nets) or malaria treatment. As such, our results most likely can be applied to other malaria-endemic settings in which similar malaria control measures are in place. Overall, given our findings and the new WHO guidelines recommending iron fortification for the prevention and treatment of anemia among children younger than 2 years (in whom the prevalence of anemia is ≥20 percent), there should be renewed interest and consideration for implementing iron fortification in Ghana as part of the national nutrition policy."

Editorial: Iron Fortification and Malaria Risk in Children

In an accompanying editorial, Andrew M. Prentice, Ph.D., of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues write that the increase seen in this study in hospital admissions among the iron supplementation group, which by definition constitutes a potentially serious adverse event, adds to the concerns about the safety of iron administration in highly malaria-endemic environments.

"Participants in an expert panel convened by the World Health Organization in 2007 speculated that iron given with foods, either by centralized or point-of-use fortification, would be safe. However, the Ghanaian trial reported by Zlotkin et al in this issue of JAMA now becomes the fourth trial to question this suggestion, and leaves global health policy makers with an unresolved dilemma. Until a means of safely administering iron in infectious environments has been developed, there remains an imperative to reduce the infectious burden as a prerequisite to moving poor populations from their current state of widespread iron deficiency and anemia."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Medical Association (AMA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Medical Association (AMA). "Effect of Iron Supplementation Among Children Living in Malaria-Endemic Area on Incidence of Malaria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193702.htm>.
American Medical Association (AMA). (2013, September 3). Effect of Iron Supplementation Among Children Living in Malaria-Endemic Area on Incidence of Malaria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193702.htm
American Medical Association (AMA). "Effect of Iron Supplementation Among Children Living in Malaria-Endemic Area on Incidence of Malaria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193702.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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