To determine factors influencing gametocyte carriage, a cross-sectional study was conducted among 512 patients admitted for Plasmodium falciparum malaria. After adjustments for potential confounders, hemoglobin concentrations were lower in gametocyte carriers 10.5 (±2.5) than in patients without gametocytes 12.5 (±2.3) (P < 0.0001). Hemoglobin concentrations were negatively correlated with peak gametocyte counts (Spearman's ρ = −0.37, P < 0.0001) and gametocyte carriage durations (Spearman's ρ = −0.30, P < 0.0001). Adjustments for the duration of the malaria episode and other potential confounders did not alter the association (P < 0.0001). After adjustment for potential confounders, the median asexual parasitemia was higher in patients with gametocytes than in patients without gametocytes (P = 0.003). Severe malaria cases were more likely to have gametocytes (65%) than malaria with hyperparasitemia (38%) or mild malaria (31%) (P = 0.0001). These findings suggest that events surrounding anemia and tissue hypoxia stimulate Plasmodium falciparum gametocytogenesis.

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