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Current Pediatric Reviews


ISSN (Print): 1573-3963
ISSN (Online): 1875-6336

Research Article

Congenital Malaria in Newborns Delivered to Malaria-Infected Mothers in the Hilly Region of Northern India: Is it Deadly?

(E-pub Ahead of Print)
Published on: 21 December, 2021
Author(s): Avinish Singh, Kriti Mohan*, Balram Ji Omar, Swathi Chacham, Jaya Chaturvedi, Sriparna Basu and Rahul Bhakat

Background: Malaria is endemic in many states of India. Though there are reports of maternal and congenital malaria from endemic areas, however, there remains a paucity of data from hilly terrains. The present study evaluated the prevalence, clinical and microbiological spectrum of maternal and congenital malaria at a tertiary health care facility in Northern India over a period of 18 months.

Methods: In this observational study, mothers along with their newborns were evaluated for malaria by maternal, placental, and cord blood smear examination and rapid point-of-care diagnostic serological tests. Positive cases were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. Mother-newborn duos were followed up till discharge from the hospital.

Results: A total of 843 mothers delivered during the study period and were screened along with their newborns and placentae. A total of Ten (1.18%) mothers had evidence of malarial parasitemia (Plasmodium vivax, n=7 and Pl. falciparum, n=3), however, none of the placental and cord blood samples were positive for malaria. Overall, 127 (15.1%) neonates required admission in neonatal intensive care unit for various morbidities. Incidence of small for gestational age (SGA) was high (n=210; 24.9%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated maternal malaria to be an independent contributor for SGA [Odds Ratio (95% Confidence Interval), 10.7 (2.06 - 49.72)]. However, only 2% variance of SGA could be explained by maternal malaria alone.

Conclusion: We report an encouragingly lower incidence of maternal malaria in mothers attending for delivery and a ‘Zero’ incidence for placental and congenital malaria during the study period as compared to national data (upto 7.4% in non-immune mothers), although maternal malaria could be a causative factor for SGA.

Keywords: Congenital malaria, maternal, placenta, small for gestational age.

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