Anemia and growth retardation associated with Schistosoma haematobium infection in Mali: a possible subtle impact of a neglected tropical disease.

29 Mar 2018

Background: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate a possible association of Schistosoma haematobium with child growth development and describe a plausible schistosomiasis-related anemia in children and adults in a highly schistosomiasis endemic area of Mali. Methods: Urine, feces and blood samples from 399 participants of both sexes (2-40 years of age) were analyzed and supplemented by anthropometric measurements. Results: S. haematobium prevalence was 79.8%, S. mansoni 13.2% and Plasmodium falciparum 80.2%. S. haematobium infection intensity as five categories was significantly associated with anemia; i.e., odds of having anemia in the highest and the next highest category was 3.25 (95% CL 1.61-6.55; p<0.01) and 2.45 (95% CL 1.28-4.70; p<0.01), respectively, of that in the three lower categories combined after adjusting for age group and gender and the interaction between the two factors. Anemia was most pronounced in the 2-5 year olds males (55.5%, n=98). P. falciparum infection was not significantly associated with anemia. Stunting (body mass index [BMI] for age z-score<-2.00) was observed in 2.6% (2/78) of the 2-5 years olds and in 7.7% (14/182) in the 6-19 years age group. Lower BMI-z-scores (as continuous variable) were associated with anemia (p<0.05) while high intensity of S. haematobium infection was not significant when adjusting for age group and anemia. Participants with malaria infection had lower z-scores (as continuous variables) of weight and height for age. Lower height for age z-scores were also associated with anemia. Conclusions: S. haematobium infection is likely to impact on child growth and possibly also anemia in all age groups and advocates for inclusion of whole populations into future control programes.