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As part of establishing effective methods for malaria control, the malaria-associated
nutritional status was surveyed on Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Islands in 1993.
A total of 506 residents participated in this study. The slide positive rate for malaria
was 54% (275/506) in all ages, with a high of 79% for children aged 4-6 years. Plasmodium
falciparum was the most common species (52%), followed by P. vivax (29%). Splenomegaly
in children from infants to age 15 was detected at the rate of 30% (104/343) by the
palpation method. Body mass index was lower in Solomon Islanders than for the Japanese
population up to 15 years old in both genders. Mean values for serum insulin-like
growth factor-1 (IGF-1) were also lower in Solomon Islanders in children under 18
years old. The hemoglobin distribution curves were almost identical in the malaria-positive
(P(+)) and -negative (P(-)) groups. The percentage of cases with less than 80 mg/dl
of blood glucose and those with less than 50 ng/ml of IGF-1 were higher in the P(+)
group than for the anti-malaria drug-untreated malaria-negative (P(-)D(-)) group.
It is suggested that low blood glucose and low IGF-1 levels may have some relationship
with the malaria infection.