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Exposure to Ebola Virus and Risk for Infection with Malaria Parasites, Rural Gabon.

Abstract

An association between malaria and risk for death among patients with Ebola virus disease has suggested within-host interactions between Plasmodium falciparum parasites and Ebola virus. To determine whether such an interaction might also influence the probability of acquiring either infection, we used a large snapshot surveillance study from rural Gabon to test if past exposure to Ebola virus is associated with current infection with Plasmodium spp. during nonepidemic conditions. We found a strong positive association, on population and individual levels, between seropositivity for antibodies against Ebola virus and the presence of Plasmodium parasites in the blood. According to a multiple regression model accounting for other key variables, antibodies against Ebola virus emerged as the strongest individual-level risk factor for acquiring malaria. Our results suggest that within-host interactions between malaria parasites and Ebola virus may underlie epidemiologic associations.

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