Ultrasound was used to measure newborn splenic dimensions and calculate the volumes in a malarious and a non-malarious region of Papua New Guinea. The median splenic volume of infants born in Madang, where malaria transmission is high throughout the year, was 5.2 cm3/kg, while that of infants born in Goroka, where malaria is not endemic, was 2.6 cm3/kg. The cause of this difference is unknown, but possible explanations include fetal exposure to malaria antigens in utero and the high incidence of inherited red cell disorders in the malarious regions of Papua New Guinea.
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