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BACKGROUND: Anaemia in children under five years old is associated with poor health, growth and developmental outcomes. In Papua, Indonesia, where the burden of anaemia in infants is high, we conducted a community survey to assess the association between Plasmodium infection, helminth carriage and the risk of anaemia. METHODS: A cross sectional household survey was carried out between April and July 2013 in 16 villages in the District of Mimika using a multistage sampling procedure. A total of 629 children aged 1-59 months from 800 households were included in the study. Demographic, symptom and anthropometry data were recorded using a standardized questionnaire. Blood and stool samples were collected for examination. RESULTS: Of the 533 children with blood film examination, 8.8% (47) had P. vivax parasitaemia and 3.9% (21) had P. falciparum; the majority of children with malaria were asymptomatic (94.4%, 68/72). Soil transmitted helminth (STH) infection was present in 43% (105/269) of children assessed; those with STH were at significantly greater risk of P. vivax parasitaemia compared to those without STH (OR = 3.7 [95%CI 1.5-9.2], p = 0.004). Anaemia (Hb<10 g/dl) was present in 24.5% (122/497) of children and associated with P. vivax parasitaemia (OR = 2.9 [95%CI, 1.7-4.9], p = 0.001), P. falciparum parasitaemia (OR = 4.3 [95%CI, 2.0-9.4], p<0.001), hookworm carriage (OR = 2.6 [95%CI, 1.2-5.8], p = 0.026), Plasmodium-helminth coinfection (OR 4.0 [95%CI, 1.4-11.3], p = 0.008) and severe stunting (OR = 1.9 ([95%CI, 1.1-3.3], p = 0.012). CONCLUSIONS: Asymptomatic P. vivax and P. falciparum infections and hookworm all contribute to risk of paediatric anaemia in coendemic areas and should be targeted with prevention and treatment programs. The relationship between helminth infections and the increased risk of P. vivax parasitaemia should be explored prospectively.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Anemia, Animals, Asymptomatic Diseases, Child, Preschool, Coinfection, Cross-Sectional Studies, Helminthiasis, Helminths, Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Malaria, Vivax, Nutritional Status, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires