Ouwe-Missi-Oukem-Boyer O. PLoS ONE.
New findings suggest a possible epidemiological
interaction between hepatitis C, hepatitis B and Plasmodium falciparum
infections. Age was a key factor in this association and hepatitis C virus
led to slower emergence of P. falciparum in the blood, according to
Odile Ouwe-Missi-Oukem-Boyer, PhD, and colleagues.
In the pilot study, researchers assigned 319
participants, aged between 13 and 85 residing in Dienga, Africa, to a curative
antimalarial treatment. Microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were
used to monitor the emergence of P. falciparum in participants
blood every 2 weeks for 1 year duration.
Sixty-five participants tested positive for malaria
parasites; 61 were HCV carriers; 36 were HBV carriers; and P. falciparum
was detected in 203 patients at 1 year follow-up. Of those with P.
falciparum, 25 were HBV carriers and 28 were HCV carriers. Most HBV
carriers were younger than 30 years; the likelihood of HCV infection increased
significantly with age.
Median time to P. falciparum emergence in blood
was 140 days and 120 days in HBV-negative and positive participants, and 135
days and 224 days in HCV-negative and positive participants, respectively.
Compared with those without HCV infection, HCV carriage was associated with a
slower emergence of P. falciparum infection in the blood.
HCV carrier status but not HBV carrier status was
significantly associated with slower emergence of malaria parasites in
univariate analysis, along with older age and self-medication, the
researchers wrote. The relation with HCV carrier status was confirmed in
multivariate analysis, although the P value was just above the threshold
of significance. As age is a confounding factor, the influence of HCV infection
on the natural course of P. falciparummalaria would be best examined in
a case-control study.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial