High Iron Stores in the Low Malaria Season Increase Malaria Risk in the High Transmission Season in a Prospective Cohort of Rural Zambian Children

Evidence suggests that higher iron stores may lead to a greater risk of malaria. This study, conducted in rural Zambia among children in a biofortified maize trial, assessed the link between serum ferritin (SF) concentration – a biomarker for iron – during low malaria season and the risk of malaria during the high-transmission season. Researchers found that children aged four to six years old with moderate to high iron status had a higher malaria risk, compared to those who were iron deficient. This did not include children six to eight years old. To mitigate this increased risk, it is important to integrate malaria control efforts with iron interventions.

Barffour, M., et al., Journal of Nutrition (August 2017).