Normal Range of CD4 Cell Counts and Temporal Changes in Two HIVNegative Malawian Populations

A.C Crampin*, F.D Mwaungulu, L.R Ambrose, H Longwe, N French
Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

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© Crampin et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Karonga Prevention Study, Malawi London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK; Tel: + 265 999 373 980; E-mail:


Longitudinal studies were carried out to determine trends in CD4 cell counts over a four year period in healthy HIV-negative adults in a rural (134 individuals) and an urban (80 individuals) site in Malawi, using TruCountTM and FACScountTM platforms. At baseline, median counts and 95% ranges were 890 (359-1954) cells per microlitre (μl) and 725 (114-1074) cells/μl respectively. 1.5% and 6% respectively had baseline counts below 350 cells/μl and 1.5% and 2.5% below 250 cells per μl. Transient dips to below 250 cells/μl were observed in seven individuals, with two individuals having persistently low CD4 counts over more than one year. Women and individuals from the urban site were significantly more likely to have “low CD4 count” (< 500 cells/μl) even when adjusted for other factors. In common with neighbouring countries, HIV-negative populations in Malawi have CD4 counts considerably lower than European reference ranges, and healthy individuals may have persistently or transiently low counts. Within Malawi, ranges differ according to the selected population.

Keywords: Malawi, CD4 count, HIV-negative, reference range..