The relationship between intestinal helminth infection and susceptibility to malaria remains unclear. We studied the relationship between these infections. Seven schools in Ilero, Nigeria referred all pupils with febrile illness to our study center for free malaria treatment during a 3-month study period. At the end, all pupils submitted a stool sample for microscopic investigation for helminth eggs. We used an unmatched case-control design to calculate the odds ratios for helminth infection in children with at least one attack of malaria (cases) and children with no malaria episodes during the study (controls). We recorded 115 malaria cases in 82 of 354 (23.2%), 16 of 736 (2.2%), and 17 of 348 (4.7%) children ages ≤ 5, 6-10, and 11-15 years old, respectively (P = 0.001). Helminth infection rate in cases was 21 of 115 (18.3%) compared with 456 of 1,327 (34.4%) in controls. Weighted odds ratio stratified by age group for helminth infection in cases versus controls was 0.50 (95% confidence interval = 0.2-0.84, P < 0.01). Ascaris and hookworm were the most common helminths detected, with prevalence rates of 14 (12.2%) and 6 (5.2%) among cases compared with 333 (25.1%) and 132 (10.0%) in controls, respectively (P = 0.001). The negative association between helminth infection and malaria may be of importance in the design of deworming programs.
© The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.