The effect of iron deficiency on infection stages in 312 women (15-45 years) and 312 children (6-59 months) belonging to the families of agricultural labourers and of small and marginal farmers residing in rural areas of Ludhiana district of Punjab was assessed. The blood hemoglobin levels were below normal in 50.64% of women and 55.77% of children. No significant difference in the mean values of C-Reactive protein (CRP) and Alpha-1acid glycoprotein (AGP) was observed among non-anemic and anemic women and children, however the average total leukocyte count was significantly (p?0.01) higher in anemic as compared to non-anemic women and children. CRP indicating acute stage of infection was raised in 10.58% of women while AGP representing chronic infection was higher in 8.65% of the women. The CRP values were high in 7.7% in children, however AGP values were higher in 23.4% of the children. On the basis of combined levels of CRP and AGP, 11.7% of non-anemic and 15.3% of anemic women were detected with infections while 18.8% of non anemic and 26.0% of anemic children were in infection state. The results suggest that iron deficiency is quite frequent in children and women. The blood picture showed that more number of anemic women and children were in acute or chronic infection stages as compared to non-anemics, hence, a comprehensive research on the role of iron deficiency anemia in immunity is needed as lower immunity is one of the significant factor of malnutrition which is the most important nutritional challenge for the global community.
Alpha-1 acid glycoprotein, Children, C-reactive protein, Infections, Women
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