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Malaria Prevention During Pregnancy—is There A Next Step Forward?
Author: Richard W. Steketee
Publisher: Derivative Works
2 pages
One time payment: €0.00
Required subscription: Free
Type of publication: Article
ISBN/ISSN: 1549-1676
DOI: 10.1371/1001734
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The malaria parasite lives most of its life and does the majority of its replication in red blood cells. The biologically and immunologically unique utero-placental blood space (where the mother’s body must recognize the fetus as not-self and then accept and nurture this foreign body) serves as a near-perfect protected resting and reproducing place for malaria-infected red blood cells–a ‘‘holiday spa for parasites.’’ For a young woman who has grown up with endemic malaria, this protected parasite replication can overcome her acquired systemic malaria immunity and still cause her and her fetus harm in the form of maternal illness, anemia, and premature and low birth weight delivery. For neverexposed young women, the unchecked parasite replication can be catastrophic, leading to severe maternal illness and possible fetal death. Thus, there is no safety from malaria during pregnancy, across the spectrum from very high to very low transmission settings.

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