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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
A US doctor answeredLearn more
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.
Dr. Scott Diede
A Verified Doctoranswered
A US doctor answeredLearn more
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.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 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..."
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 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 24 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.
Dr. Scott Diede
A Verified Doctoranswered
A US doctor answeredLearn more
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.

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Similar questions

A 36-year-old member asked:

How did sickle cell anemia relate to malaria?

3 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
Resistance: Red blood cells whose structure is altered by sickle cell trait or disease are more resistant to invasion by plasmodium spp., the organism which causes malaria.
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
Hematology and Oncology 37 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.
A 30-year-old member asked:

Is sickle cell anemia prevalent where malaria doesn't exist?

1 doctor answer5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Torkildson
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology 39 years experience
Only here in the US: If you compare a MAP of malaria prevalence (number of cases) to a MAP of sickle cell disease prevalence, they are almost super-imposable with one exception; the United States. The prevalence of sickle cell anemia in the us is as high as some african countries with lower malaria frequencies, but our only malaria comes from travelers.
A 41-year-old member asked:

What causes sickle cell anemia besides malaria?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Benjamin
Hematology and Oncology 23 years experience
Malaria doesnt cause: Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease caused by a mutation in the dna coding for hemoglobin. Scientists have long known that sickle cell anemia protects carriers from malaria infections, which could be advantageous in certain parts of the world. Malaria does not cause sickle cell anemia.
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 25 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 >
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Provided original answer
with intense transmission of malaria.” See: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/biology/sickle_cell.html
Nov 9, 2014

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