Influence of haemoglobins S and C on predominantly asymptomatic Plasmodium infections in northern Ghana

Ina Danquah, Peter Ziniel, Teunis A. Eggelte, Stephan Ehrhardt, Frank P. Mockenhaupt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The haemoglobin (Hb) variants HbS and HbC protect against severe malaria. Yet, the influence particularly of HbC on asymptomatic or mild Plasmodium infection is not well established.In a dry season cross-sectional survey among 2108 children aged 0.5-9 years in the Northern Region of Ghana, Plasmodium species and density, as well as Hb, were analysed with respect to Hb genotypes. HbAC occurred in 19.7% and HbAS in 7.4% (HbSC, 0.8%; HbCC, 0.8%; HbSS, 0.3%). Overall, 56% of the children had microscopically visible parasitaemia. By PCR, P. falciparum, P. malariae, and P. ovale were present in 74.5%, 9.7%, and 5.5%, respectively. Febrile parasitaemia was rare (2.8%) but anaemia (Hb < 11. g/dL) frequent (59.3%). Children with HbAA and HbAC showed virtually identical malariometric parameters. In contrast, children with HbAS had significantly less parasitaemia, lower parasite densities, and a higher proportion of submicroscopic P. falciparum infection. Remarkably, in children with HbCC, P. malariae infection occurred in 37.5% (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 5.8; 95% CI, 1.8-18.8) and P. ovale in 18.8% (aOR, 3.61; 95% CI, 0.97-13.5).In this population with predominantly asymptomatic Plasmodium infection, HbAC shows no discernible effect on malaria-related parameters. Homozygous HbC, in contrast, confers an increased risk of P. malariae infection which conceivably may modulate falciparum malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-719
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Dry season
  • Ghana
  • Haemoglobin C
  • Malaria
  • Plasmodium malariae
  • Sickle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of haemoglobins S and C on predominantly asymptomatic Plasmodium infections in northern Ghana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this