Malaria and human immunodeficiency virus infection among male employees of a sugar estate in Malawi

O. C. Nwanyanwu, N. Kumwenda, P. N. Kazembe, S. Jemu, C. Ziba, W. C. Nkhoma, S. C. Redd

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15 Scopus citations


In sub-saharan Africa, where malaria is endemic and diagnostic and laboratory services are limited, fever is generally presumed to be due to malaria; however, the proportion of fevers actually related to malaria is unknown in most places. This study was conducted to determine the relationship between fever, malaria parasitaemia and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Between February and April 1994, 643 consenting adult male workers of the Sugar Corporation of Malawi (SUCOMA) in Nchalo, Chikwawa District, Malawi were enrolled in a cross-sectional study. Participants underwent routine physical examinations and data were collected on age, axillary temperature, and history of fever or other illness in the 2 weeks before enrolment. Patients with axillary temperature ≤ 37.5°C were considered to be febrile. Blood was collected and thick blood films were prepared and examined for the presence of malaria parasites. HIV testing was done using the Wellcozyme® enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Complete information was obtained from 605 subjects (94%), of whom 248 (41%) reported a history of fever (only 15% of the fever reporters were parasitaemic), 139 (23%) were HIV positive, and 131 (22%) received an antimalarial drug. HIV infection was significantly associated with fever but not with parasitaemia. Fever reporters and non-fever reporters were of similar age (means 32.8 and 33.1 years, respectively). These data suggest that in this population there was both high HIV seroprevalence and gross overestimation of fever as malaria. High HIV prevalence makes it necessary to re-examine the common practice in Malawi of treating all fever among adults as malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-569
Number of pages3
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Malaria
  • Malawi
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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