Birthweight in offspring of mothers with high prevalence of helminth and malaria infection in coastal Kenya
Fairley, Jessica K
King, Charles H
King, Christopher L
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Results of studies on the associations of maternal helminth infection and malaria-helminth co-infection on birth outcomes have been mixed. A group of 696 pregnant women from the Kwale district in Kenya were recruited and tested for malaria and helminth infection at delivery. Birthweight was documented for 664 infants. A total of 42.7% of the mothers were infected with Plasmodium falciparum, 30.6% with Schistosoma haematobium, 36.2% with filariasis, 31.5% with hookworm, and 5.9% with Trichuris trichiura; co-infection was present in 46.7%. Low birthweight (LBW) (weight < 2,500 grams) was present in 15.4% of the offspring, and 8.3% had a weight z-score £ 2 SD below the World Health Organization mean. Only gravida, age, and locale had a significant association with LBW. The high prevalence of maternal infection coupled with a higher than expected percentage of LBW highlight a need for further investigation of the association of maternal co infection with LBW.