Following an investigation suggesting a protective role for Ascaris against cerebral malaria, possibly through immunomodulation, we examined whether Ascaris had any impact on mixed Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections. We studied a cross section of 928 patient files between 1991 and 1999. Forty patients had contemporaneous mixed infections and 40 patients had P. falciparum infections, followed by P. vivax infections. There was a significant association between Ascaris infection and risk of having both contemporaneous or successive mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax infections (adjusted odds ratios respectively 6 [2–18] P = 0.001 and 3.6 [1.2–11.1] P = 0.02). There was a positive linear trend between the burden of Ascaris and the risk of mixed infections P < 0.0001. These results suggested the possibility that pre-existing Ascaris infection may increase tolerance of the host to different Plasmodium spp., thus facilitating their coexistence.
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