In a prospective study of the total population of 5 hamlets on the western border of Thailand, all subjects were screened for helminth infections; during the following year, the incidence of malaria was recorded. Patients were not treated for helminth infections. Among 731 villagers, helminth-infected subjects were more likely to develop falciparum malaria during the following year (adjusted risk ratio 2.24, range 1.4–3.6; P = 0.001). The risk of developing falciparum malaria increased with the number of helminth species (P =0.036). Whereas in other studies helminths were associated with protection from severe complications of malaria, it seemed here that helminth-infected patients were more likely to develop malaria. It is suggested that a helminth-mediated Th2 shift may have complex consequences on malaria, decreasing antisporozoite immunity, but protecting against severe malaria.
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