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Free Content Short Communication: Limited influence of haptoglobin genotypes on severe malaria in Ghanaian children

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Haptoglobin (Hp) polymorphisms in sub-Saharan Africa have been associated with an increased risk of severe malaria. However, available data are inconclusive. We examined the role of Hp polymorphisms in susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum infection and to severe malaria in northern Ghana. Three groups each of 290 age and sex-matched children with severe malaria, children with asymptomatic P. falciparum infection and aparasitaemic healthy controls were studied. Hp typing was based on PCR. In all children, Hp1-1, Hp2-1, and Hp2-2 occurred in 32.4%, 54.1%, and 13.5%, respectively. The prevalence of the Hp genotypes did not differ significantly between groups. However, Hp2 alleles were least common in healthy children (0.379), more frequent in parasitaemic controls (0.402), and most common in severe malaria patients (0.434;  = 3.7; P = 0.06). In matched pair analysis, no Hp genotype increased the risk of severe malaria. However, using Hp1-1 as a reference, children with Hp2-2 exhibited a slightly increased risk of severe malaria (odds ratio, 1.6; P = 0.04). These results indicate that Hp polymorhisms may have a rather limited influence on the development of severe malaria.

Keywords: Ghana; PCR; haptoglobin polymorphisms; severe malaria

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Tropical Medicine, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany 2: Division of Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and AIDS, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 3: Division of International Health, Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany 4: School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana

Publication date: July 1, 2005


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