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Population Attributable Fraction of Anemia Associated with P. falciparum Infection in Children in Southern Malawi

Abstract

Anemia is a leading cause of morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa. The etiologies of anemia are multifactorial, and it is unclear what proportion of anemia is attributable to malaria in children of different ages in Malawi. We evaluated the population attributable fraction (PAF) of anemia due to malaria using multiple cross-sectional surveys in southern Malawi. We found a high prevalence of anemia, with the greatest proportion attributable to malaria among school-age children (5-15 years) in the rainy season (PAF = 18.8% [95% CI: 16.3, 21.0], compared with PAF = 5.2% [95% CI: 4.0, 6.2] among young children pooled across season [< 5 years] and PAF = 9.7% [95% CI: 6.5, 12.4] among school-age children in the dry season). Malaria control interventions will likely lead to decreases in anemia, especially among school-age children.

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