Although malaria kills some 600,000 African children each year, most cases of the mosquito-borne parasitic disease in children are mild. Repeated infection does generate some immunity, and episodes of severe malaria are unusual once a child reaches age 5. However, the relative contributions of such factors as the level of malaria-causing parasites in a person's blood-parasite density-to disease severity and to development of protective immunity are not well understood.
The research team was led by Patrick E. Duffy, M.D., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
BP Gonçalves et al. Parasite burden and severity of malaria in Tanzanian children. NEJM DOI: 10.1056/NEJM 10.1056/NEJMoa1303944 (2014).
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to provide comment on this research. Dr. Duffy, Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, NIAID, and corresponding author, is also available.