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Infections account for a large proportion of anemia, especially in regions with a high anemia burden such as sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania. In these regions, young children have the highest prevalence of anemia and total years lived with disability due to anemia. Several infections are strongly associated with anemia, including parasitic infections such as malaria, hookworm, and Salmonella.

Anemia may also complicate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Anemia and infections that cause anemia are major causes of hospitalization and death in children in endemic areas. The interactions between anemia and infection are numerous, complex, and may be bidirectional. Anemia can be a factor in increased infections. For example, iron deficiency anemia contributes to a suppressed immune response since iron is essential for the development and function of immune cells. Anemia is also associated with increased gut permeability and may mediate infection with enteric pathogens.  
On the other hand, iron deficiency anemia has also been associated with protection against malaria; anemia has been shown to reduce the invasion and growth of malaria parasites in ex vivo studies (an effect that is reversed by iron supplementation). Infections can cause anemia by increasing hepcidin production and decreasing the mobilization of iron, required for the formation of red blood cells, from body stores.

Research priorities about the intersection of anemia and infectious diseases include quantifying the effects of infection on risk of anemia and the proportion of anemia that would be prevented by infection control. Preventing and treating infection, and especially malaria, should be an integral strategy for the management of iron deficiency and anemia in areas of high infectious disease burden, especially for children living in sub-Saharan Africa, where concerns exist regarding the safety and efficacy of iron interventions.

We found 19 resource(s)

Accelerating Action to Reduce Anemia: Review of Causes and Risk Factors and Related Data Needs
Literature Review published by Ann N Y Acad Sci in
This narrative review describes the causes and risk factors, and related data needs for reducing anemia for different population subgroups within a country and presents principles for the design and implementation of effective strategies to prevent and treat anemia.
Prevalence of Anemia Among People Living with HIV: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review published by eClinicalMedicine in
This systematic review estimates the prevalence and severity of anemia among people living with human immunodeficiency virus/autoimmune deficiency syndrome.
Anemia and Thrombocytopenia in People Living with HIV/AIDS: A Narrative Literature Review
Journal Article published by International Health in
This narrative literature review describes the prevalence of anemia and thrombocytopenia in people living with human immunodeficiency virus/autoimmune deficiency syndrome.and identifies the main clinical characteristics that aggravate these conditions
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…
Association Between Malaria Infection and Early Childhood Development Mediated by Anemia in Rural Kenya
Journal Article published by IJERPH in
Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children under 5 years and anemia is a well known morbidity resulting from malaria infection. This study in western Kenya found malaria infection significantly increased odds of risk for delays in gross motor, communication, and social-emotional development.
Iron Supplementation in Infants: A Reflection on Hepcidin and Fractional Iron Absorption
Journal Article published by Am J Clin Nutr in
This editorial discusses the implications of a study that assesses the effect of iron dosing schedules on plasma hepcidin and iron absorption in high-risk infants in Kenya and found that iron absorption administered in a variety of methods in a pediatric population and found that less frequent dosing results in increased fractional absorption of…
The Effect of Iron Dosing Schedules on Plasma Hepcidin and Iron Absorption in Kenyan Infants
Journal Article published by Am J Clin Nutr in
This study assessed iron uptake in infants in Kenya who received three different regimens of iron supplementations via stable iron isotopes. The authors report that 12 mg doses of ferrous sulfate given in fortified meals as either morning or afternoon doses resulted in comparable absorption, while dosing of the same form of iron on consecutive…
WHO Malaria Report 2019
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…