A member asked:

Is malaria and sickle cell anemia related?

7 doctors weighed in across 5 answers
Dr. Jeffrey Unger answered

Specializes in

No: Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Sickle cell is a genetic disorder resulting in a disruption in the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells. Sickle cell is a disorder observed in african americans.

Answered 2/9/2013

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Dr. Scott Diede answered

Specializes in

Yes: The mutation in sickle cell disease causes the red blood cell half to be shorter than normal. This can offer some protection against malaria because it disrupts the life cycle of the organism. This disease, along with thalassemias, are prevalent in areas of the world that have high malaria rates.

Answered 10/13/2014

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Dr. Heidi Fowler answered

Specializes in Psychiatry

Sickle cell Trait: can offer some protective value regarding severity of malarial disease. In a person who has sickle-cell trait – the red blood cells are destroyed prematurely before the Plamodium can reproduce. According to one study “Sickle cell trait provides 60% protection against overall mortality. Most of this protection occurs between 2-16 months of life, before the onset of clinical immunity..."

Answered 3/14/2018

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Dr. Donald Alves answered

Specializes in Emergency Medicine

No & "it depends": Depending on the setting--malaria is an infectious disease affecting red blood cells. Persons with sickle cell usually have more of a less common type of hemoglobin (fetal) to protect themselves when their cells sickle. These cells are not attacked by malaria, so sicklers have some natural protection against malaria.

Answered 1/27/2013

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Dr. Scott Diede answered

Specializes in

Yes: The mutation in sickle cell disease causes the red blood cell half-life to be shorter than normal. This can offer some protection against malaria because it disrupts the life cycle of the organism. This disease, along with thalassemias (which also shorten the red blood cell half-life), are prevalent in areas of the world that have high malaria rates.

Answered 12/9/2013

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