Effect of malaria parasitaemia on materno-foetal transfer of immunoglobulin G (IgG) diphtheria antibodies- a cross sectional analytic study
Background: Neonatal protection from diphtheria is dependent on maternally transferred antibodies.4 Placental malaria has been reported to affect transplacental transfer of antibodies. Nigeria is endemic for malaria. In the face of recent reports of diphtheria including an epidemic in Nigeria, this study aimed to determine the effect of maternal, cord blood and placental malaria parasitaemia on the transplacental transfer of anti-diphtheria antibodies
Methods: This was a cross-sectional analytic study in which 231 mother- infant pairs were studied. Infants were term and normal birth weight. Level of IgG anti-diphtheria antibodies was determined in maternal and newborn sera using ELISA method. Thin and thick films for malaria parasites were made on maternal peripheral, placental and cord blood.
Results: Of 60 mothers who had malaria parasitaemia, 19(31.7%) had inadequate protective antibodies which was not significantly different from 71(41.5%) of 171 without malaria parasitaemia p= 0.22. The mean level of antibodies in babies whose mothers had/did not have peripheral malaria parasitaemia, whose placentae were/were not parasitized and who had/did not have cord malaria parasitaemia were not significantly different.
Conclusion: Malaria did not affect the level of diphtheria antibodies in mothers and also did not interfere with maternofoetal transfer of the anti-diphtheria antibodies.
Keywords: Malaria, Parasitaemia, Materno-foetal, Transfer, Diphtheria, Antibodies