Zinc levels and malaria severity in children below five years in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
Introduction: Interventions which will decrease the morbidity and
mortality related to Malaria are still being sought in order to improve the state of children in developing countries. Zinc is recognized to improve child health by improving immunity growth, weight and reducing episodes of infectious disease. The relation of Zinc and Malaria is still not very well understood.
Objective: This cross-sectional study was undertaken to assess the
Zinc levels and Malaria severity in children below 5 years in Dares-
Methods: Fifty children each with severe malaria, non-complicated
malaria and without malaria were studied and their plasma Zinc
levels assessed at one time point on admission to study. Zinc levels
were assessed using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Levels of
Zinc below 10mmols/dl were taken as low.
Results: There was no statistical difference in their baseline
characteristics in terms of age and gender. There was a statistically significant difference in the plasma Zinc levels between those with un-complicated and severe malaria, with an Odds ratio of 3.8 (CI 1.5-10; and p value 0.0007). The difference between those without malaria and severe malaria was slightly higher with Odds ratio of 4.1 (CI 1.6-11, and p value of 0.004).
Conclusion: In conclusion, In general almost half of all children in
the study had significantly low levels of Plasma Zinc (<10mmol/dL), indicating a major public health problem of Zinc micronutrient problem. Severe malaria was significantly asoiated with plasma Zinc levels.
Key words: Malaria, Zinc deficiency, under fives, Tanzania.