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Sickle cell hemoglobinopathy protection against malaria: is it changing?

Keywords: Sickle cell hemoglobinopathy , Malaria , Severity

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Abstract:

Sickle cell hemoglobinopathy has a world wide occurrence, although more concentrated in some specific areas and tribes. It has been thought to originate in malaria endemic areas e.g; Africa and central parts of India for protection from malarial parasite. Reports of association of malaria (vivax or falciparum) with sickle cell anemia are available from South Africa but surprisingly rare from other parts of the world. The first detailed report on the importance of malaria as a cause of morbidity and mortality in patients living with SCA was published in January 2010.We, at west coast of India, came across 5 cases of sickle cell anemia (both trait and disease) which were infected with malarial parasites (4 with falciparum and 1 with vivax). All were complicated irrespective of the degree of parasitemia and species of parasite. We report these cases to highlight the severity of malaria in cases of sickle cell hemoglobinopathy ( which is known to have evolved as a protection against malaria) and to emphasise upon the need for detailed research to find out association between SCA and severity of malaria.

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