Malaria and curable sexually transmitted and reproductive tract coinfection among pregnant women in rural Burkina Faso

Trop Med Health. 2021 Nov 4;49(1):90. doi: 10.1186/s41182-021-00381-5.


Background: Malaria and sexually transmitted/reproductive tract infections (STI/RTI) are leading and preventable causes of low birthweight in sub-Saharan Africa. Reducing their impact on pregnancy outcomes requires efficient interventions that can be easily integrated into the antenatal care package. The paucity of data on malaria and STI/RTI coinfection, however, limits efforts to control these infections. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and associated factors of malaria and STI/RTI coinfection among pregnant women in rural Burkina Faso.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 402 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at the Yako health district. Sociodemographic and behavioral data were collected, and pregnant women were tested for peripheral malaria by microscopy. Hemoglobin levels were also measured by spectrophotometry and curable bacterial STI/RTI were tested on cervico-vaginal swabs using rapid diagnostic test for chlamydia and syphilis, and Gram staining for bacterial vaginosis. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to assess the association of malaria and STI/RTI coinfection with the characteristics of included pregnant women.

Results: The prevalence of malaria and at least one STI/RTI coinfection was 12.9% (95% confidence interval, CI: [9.8-16.7]), malaria and bacterial vaginosis coinfection was 12.2% (95% CI: [9.3-15.9]), malaria and chlamydial coinfection was 1.6% (95% CI: [0.6-3.8]). No coinfection was reported for malaria and syphilis. The individual prevalence was 17.2%, 7.2%, 0.6%, 67.7% and 73.3%, respectively, for malaria infection, chlamydia, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis and STI/RTI combination. Only 10% of coinfections were symptomatic, and thus, 90% of women with coinfection would have been missed by the symptoms-based diagnostic approach. In the multivariate analysis, the first pregnancy (aOR = 2.4 [95% CI: 1.2-4.7]) was the only factor significantly associated with malaria and STI/RTI coinfection. Clinical symptoms were not associated with malaria and STI/RTI coinfection.

Conclusion: The prevalence of malaria and curable STI/RTI coinfection was high among pregnant women. The poor performance of the clinical symptoms to predict coinfection suggests that alternative interventions are needed.

Keywords: Bacterial vaginosis; Burkina Faso; Chlamydia; Coinfection; Malaria; Pregnancy; Syphilis.