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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1999 Jun;38(6):333-7.

Pediatric imported malaria in New York: delayed diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, USA.


The records of 20 children with imported malaria admitted to Kings County Hospital between October 1987 and May 1995 were reviewed. All had a history of recent travel or immigration from a malaria endemic area (West-Africa [16], Central-America [three], and the Caribbean [one]). None of the 10 children with a travel history received appropriate malaria chemoprophylaxis. The most common symptoms and signs were daily fever, chills, and hepatomegaly. Diagnosis was delayed in seven children who were initially felt to have pharyngitis or viral syndrome. Common laboratory findings were anemia and thrombocytopenia. P. falciparum was identified in 70% of the patients. Other species were P. malariae and P. vivax. Complications occurred in six children, hyponatremia in five, seizures in three, and cerebral malaria in one patient. The high incidence of chloroquine-resistant malaria makes chemoprophylaxis difficult in children. The clinical presentation of malaria is nonspecific, and diagnostic delays occur, so a high index of suspicion is needed in children with a travel history.

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