Severe anaemia, iron deficiency, and susceptibility to invasive bacterial infections

Abuga KM, Nairz M, MacLennan CA, Atkinson SH
Wellcome Open Res. 2023;8

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Severe anaemia and invasive bacterial infections remain important causes of hospitalization and death among young African children. The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance demand better understanding of bacteraemia risk factors to inform prevention strategies. Epidemiological studies have reported an association between severe anaemia and bacteraemia. In this review, we explore evidence that severe anaemia is associated with increased risk of invasive bacterial infections in young children. We describe mechanisms of iron dysregulation in severe anaemia that might contribute to increased risk and pathogenesis of invasive bacteria, recent advances in knowledge of how iron deficiency and severe anaemia impair immune responses to bacterial infections and vaccines, and the gaps in our understanding of mechanisms underlying severe anaemia, iron deficiency, and the risk of invasive bacterial infections.