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Malaria is a major cause of anaemia in tropical areas. Malaria infection causes haemolysis of infected and uninfected erythrocytes and bone marrow dyserythropoiesis which compromises rapid recovery from anaemia. In areas of high malaria transmission malaria nearly all infants and young children, and many older children and adults have a reduced haemoglobin concentration as a result. In these areas severe life-threatening malarial anaemia requiring blood transfusion in young children is a major cause of hospital admission, particularly during the rainy season months when malaria transmission is highest. In severe malaria, the mortality rises steeply below an admission haemoglobin of 3 g/dL, but it also increases with higher haemoglobin concentrations approaching the normal range. In the management of severe malaria transfusion thresholds remain uncertain. Prevention of malaria by vector control, deployment of insecticide-treated bed nets, prompt and accurate diagnosis of illness and appropriate use of effective anti-malarial drugs substantially reduces the burden of anaemia in tropical countries.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/s12936-018-2509-9

Type

Journal article

Journal

Malaria journal

Publication Date

19/10/2018

Volume

17

Addresses

Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. nickw@tropmedres.ac.