African Journal of Malaria and Tropical Diseases

African Journal of Malaria and Tropical Diseases ISSN 4123-0981 Vol. 3 (8), pp. 204-208, August, 2015. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research paper

A study of  the relationship between micronutrient status and malaria infection among children in Douala town, Cameroon

*Obekop Tchani Madiko1, Andy Samuel Paul2, Yang Manu Makoun3 and Atouba P. Felicité4

1Department of Biochemistry, 2Department of Animal Biology, Université de Buea, Buea, Cameroon.

3Department of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 4Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Ngaoundéré, Dang, Cameroon.

*Corresponding author. E-mail: otmadiko@hotmail.com

Accepted 9 July, 2015

Abstract

Malaria is an endemic parasitic disease that prevails particularly in warm tropical regions of the world. Micronutrient malnutrition such as vitamin A and iron deficiencies which is a public health problem in Cameroon is usually highly prevalent in malaria endemic areas. Characterizing the relationship between micronutrient status (vitamin A, zinc and calcium) and malaria infection among children in Douala town (Cameroon), serum levels of zinc, calcium and vitamin A, were assayed in a total of 116 Cameroonian children (62 controls and 54 malaria patients infected by Plasmodium falciparum) less than six years old by colorimetric and high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) techniques respectively showed a significantly lower vitamin A and calcium concentrations (P < 0.01) among malaria patients (0.8 ± 0.4 µmol/l and 81.3 ± 23.7 mg/l) as compared to the controls (1.1 ± 0.6 µmol/l and 96.3 ± 16.7 mg/ml). Vitamin A, calcium and zinc status were lower in 51.85%, 51.85% and 27.27% of malaria patients respectively. Significant correlations (P<0.01) were observed when the following parameters were coupled: Vitamin A/zinc among infected children (r = 0.01), and vitamin A and zinc among uninfected children (r = 0.415). This study suggests that P. falciparum use vitamin A and calcium of its host for its proper metabolism, leading to a decrease in serum levels of these nutrients.

Key words: Malaria, vitamin A, zinc, calcium, parasitaemia.