Stillbirth risk during periods with different malaria transmission intensity (1997–1999).
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Low birthweight risk during periods with...
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BackgroundThe impact of malaria on the risk of stillbirth is still under debate. The aim of the present analysis was to determine comparative changes in stillbirth prevalence between two areas of Tanzania with different malaria transmission patterns in order to estimate the malaria attributable component.MethodsA retrospective analysis was completed of stillbirth differences between primigravidae and multigravidae in relation to malaria cases and transmission patterns for two different areas of Tanzania with a focus on the effects of the El Niño southern climatic oscillation (ENSO). One area, Kagera, experiences outbreaks of malaria, and the other area, Morogoro, is holoendemic. Delivery and malaria data were collected over a six year period from records of the two district hospitals in these locations.ResultsThere was a significantly higher prevalence of low birthweight in primigravidae compared to multigravidae for both data sets. Low birthweight and stillbirth prevalence (17.5% and 4.8%) were significantly higher in Kilosa compared to Ndolage (11.9% and 2.4%). There was a significant difference in stillbirth prevalence between Ndolage and Kilosa between malaria seasons (2.4% and 5.6% respectively, p < 0.001) and during malaria seasons (1.9% and 5.9% respectively, p < 0.001). During ENSO there was no difference (4.1% and 4.9%, respectively). There was a significant difference in low birthweight prevalence between Ndolage and Kilosa between malaria seasons (14.4% and 23.0% respectively, p < 0.001) and in relation to malaria seasons (13.9% and 25.2% respectively, p < 0.001). During ENSO there was no difference (22.2% and 19.8%, respectively). Increased low birthweight risk occurred approximately five months following peak malaria prevalence, but stillbirth risk increased at the time of malaria peaks.ConclusionMalaria exposure during pregnancy has a delayed effect on birthweight outcomes, but a more acute effect on stillbirth risk.