Infections of any type account for a large proportion of the total anemia burden, particularly in regions with a high anemia prevalence. Interactions between anemia and infection are complex and may be bidirectional.
Anemia may influence susceptibility to infection by modulating the host’s immune response and/or by limiting the iron supply. Iron deficiency anemia contributes to a suppressed immune response since iron is essential for the development and function of immune cells. Hemolytic anemia, a condition characterized by fragile red blood cells (RBCs), may also modulate responses to bacterial infections through dysfunction of immune system cells.
Infections strongly associated with anemia include parasitic infections such as malaria, hookworm, and schistosomiasis; viruses such as HIV; and bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and non-typhoidal Salmonellae. On the other hand, iron deficiency anemia can provide protection from certain infections, including malaria, as iron is a substrate for bacterial growth and a deficiency of iron impedes spread of the infection.
Inflammation is the body’s defense mechanism and is produced by a functioning immune system as a response to infections and diseases. The presence of Inflammation can have profound impact on the mechanism of absorption, utilization, and storage of nutrients and thus, can confound the interpretation of nutritional biomarkers when trying to assess nutritional status.
Research priorities regarding anemia and infection include measuring the effects of infection on the risk of developing anemia as well as the understanding of the proportion of anemia that occurs for limiting infections.
Maternal Hookworm Infection and Its Effects on Maternal Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review published by The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in
This systematic review synthesizes the evidence on the association between maternal hookworm and maternal anemia, as well as maternal hookworm co-infection with malaria. Despite a modest decline in prevalence of hookworm infection among all at-risk individuals, the review discovered persistent hookworm-associated morbidity in the form of maternal…
Technical Report published by World Health Organization in
The WHO World Malaria Report 2019 is based on information received from more than 80 countries and areas with ongoing malaria transmission. The report tracks investments in malaria programs and research, as well as progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, elimination, and surveillance. This information is…
Oral Iron Supplements for Children in Malaria‐Endemic Areas
Systematic Review published by Cochrane Library in
This Cochrane Systematic Review aims to evaluate the effects and safety of iron supplementation, with or without folic acid, in children living in areas with hyperendemic or holoendemic malaria transmission. The review includes 35 trials and concludes that iron treatment does not increase the risk of clinical malaria in resource-limited settings…
This brief describes WHO recommendations for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy to prevent iron deficiency anemia in sub-Saharan Africa countries, and emphasizes the importance of providing the correct dose of folic acid to maximize the effectiveness of interventions to prevent malaria. The brief is of particular relevance…
Iron Deficiency Anaemia in Pregnancy: The Role of Parenteral Iron
Literature Review published by Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in
This review presents evidence on the impact on maternal mortality of iron–folic acid supplementation from observational studies that were analyzed for the Global Burden of Disease analysis in 2004, and summarizes the evidence from other reviews on this topic.
WHO Policy Brief for the Implementation of Intermittent Preventive Treatment of Malaria in Pregnancy Using Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP)
Brief published by WHO in
This WHO brief provides updated recommendations for preventive malaria treatment using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in pregnancy. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is an integral part of WHO’s three-pronged approach to the prevention and treatment of malaria in pregnancy, which also includes the use of insecticide-treated nets and prompt and effective case…