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Iwalokun BA, Iwalokun SO, Hodonu SO, Aina OA, Omilabu S
Correspondence: Dr Iwalokun A Bamidele, email@example.com
Introduction Microbial burden involving parvovirus B19 infection has been recognised as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in sickle cell anaemia (SCA) patients. Given the recent reports of parvovirus B19 infection in Nigeria and the role of inflammation in sickle cell crisis, knowledge of the relationship between the two may be essential for deploying appropriate interventions in infected patients. This study determined the serum levels of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and C-reactive protein (CRP) as inflammatory markers in Nigerian SCA patients with and without parvovirus B19 infections.
Methods A total of 64 SCA patients aged 5–25 years and 41 age-matched apparently healthy volunteers with haemoglobin genotypes AA or AS were enrolled with consent into the study. Parvovirus B19 infection and serum levels of TNF-α and CRP were determined by the ELISA method.
Results The overall prevalence rate of parvovirus B19 infection in the study subjects was 13.3%. This rate further showed gender variation and negative correlation with age. Significant (p < 0.05) increases in serum CRP and TNF-α levels, with further elevation in unsteady state SCA patients, were observed in comparison with the control. Unlike the control, 29.6% and 21.9% of the SCA patients elicited TNF-α and CRP above threshold levels, respectively. Parvovirus B19 infection was found to elicit greater increases in these inflammatory markers than in infected non-SCA controls.
Conclusion We conclude that parvovirus B19 infection is common in this environment, and that serum TNF-α and CRP are predictors of clinical inflammatory episodes in infected SCA patients.
Keywords: inflammation, Lagos, Nigeria, parvovirus B19, sickle cell anaemia
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(11): 726–731