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Antioxidant vitamin levels among preschool children with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sokoto, Nigeria

Authors Aghedo FI, Shehu RA, Umar RA, Jiya MN, Erhabor O

Received 1 December 2012

Accepted for publication 5 February 2013

Published 11 July 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 259—263


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Festus I Aghedo,1 Resqua A Shehu,2 Rabiu A Umar,2 Mohammed N Jiya,3 Osaro Erhabor4

1Department of Haematology, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria; 2Department of Biochemistry, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria; 3Department of Paediatrics, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria; 4Department of Haematology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria

Objective: To assess antioxidant vitamin levels among preschool children with plasmodium malarial infection.
Methods: We assessed antioxidant vitamin levels by using a standard procedure in 130 malaria-parasitized preschool children. Packed cell volume and parasite density were also evaluated. Forty healthy age- and gender-matched nonparasitized children were included as controls.
Results: Plasmodium falciparum was the causative species in all subjects. The mean malaria parasitemia was 4529.45 ± 1237.5/µL. The mean antioxidant concentrations for vitamins A, C, and E among plasmodium-parasitized subjects were 33.15 ± 1.79 µg/dL, 0.51 ± 0.02 mg/dL, and 0.61 ± 0.02 mg/dL, respectively. The mean concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E among the non-malaria-parasitized controls were 69.72 ± 1.71 µg/dL, 1.25 ± 0.04 mg/dL, and 1.31 ± 0.04 mg/dL respectively. We observed that the mean antioxidant concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E were significantly lower among plasmodium-parasitized subjects compared with non-parasitized controls (P = 0.01). Malaria parasitemia correlated negatively with antioxidant concentrations and packed cell volume (r = -0.736 and -0.723, P = 0.001). We observed that the higher the level of parasitemia, the lower the antioxidant concentration.
Conclusion: Our study has shown that the antioxidant levels in plasmodium-parasitized children in the North-West of Nigeria are low and that the more severe the malarial infection, the lower the antioxidant level and the packed cell volume. One key strategic intervention is the provision of early diagnosis and prompt effective treatment. We recommend that malaria-parasitized children, particularly those in the North-West of Nigeria, be placed routinely on antioxidant vitamins to manage the micronutrient deficiencies seen in these children. There is also the need for the promotion of insecticide-treated bed nets, intermittent preventive treatment, and effective case management of malarial illness among children.

Keywords: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, P. falciparum

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