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A 47-year-old member asked:

Is malaria and sickle cell anemia related?

5 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Unger
A Verified Doctoranswered
42 years experience
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.
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Dr. Scott Diede
A Verified Doctoranswered
30 years experience
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.
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Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
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..."
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Provided original answer
intense transmission of malaria.” See: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/biology/sickle_cell.html ** This is not the case for a person with sickle-cell disease.
Oct 13, 2014
Dr. Donald Alves
Emergency Medicine 25 years experience
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.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Scott Diede
A Verified Doctoranswered
30 years experience
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.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Similar questions

A 37-year-old member asked:

How is it that sickle cell anemia formed because of malaria?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Ginsberg
Internal Medicine - Hematology & Oncology 38 years experience
I think: You are asking what is the relationship between sickle cell anemia and malaria. People with sickle cell trait are somewhat protected against certain infections with malaria. This survival advantage allows for the propagation of the sickle cell gene to the offspring, and if the offspring have a survival advantage over those without the gene, they will have the opportunity to continue propagate.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 44-year-old member asked:

Why are people who are heterozygous for sickle cell anemia more resistant to malaria?

1 doctor answer4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Malaria: In a person who has sickle-cell trait – the red blood cells are destroyed prematurely before the Plamodium can reproduce. Sickle Cell Trait can provide a protective advantage against P. Falciparum. 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 in areas >
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Provided original answer
with intense transmission of malaria.” See: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/biology/sickle_cell.html
Nov 9, 2014
A 37-year-old member asked:

I'm wondering why are carriers for sickle cell anemia resistant to malaria?

4 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Liawaty Ho
Hematology and Oncology 24 years experience
Sickle and malaria: Patients with sickle cell disease are protected against severe and complicated malaria infection- by 2 mechanism: -1. Cells infected with malaria parasites had accelerated sickling compared with non-infected cells- and as the result the cell would be destroyed/ promoting removal of infected cells from the circulation `2.Impaired parasite growth due to reduce o2 content in sickle cell.
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A 45-year-old member asked:

Why is it that carriers of sickle cell anemia are immune to malaria?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ball
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology 20 years experience
Malaria infects RBCs: Malaria infects red blood cells. Persons with sickle cell trait will often be "immune" because the malaria infection is not allowed to propagate through the rbcs because the sickle trait causes them to die a little faster when infected. Persons with sickle cell disease get very sick with malaria, because of sickle cell related complications. Persons with normal hemoglobin gets sick from malaria.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Mar 14, 2018

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