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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1999 Apr;93(3):231-7.

Cerebral malaria in Malawian children hospitalized with Plasmodium falciparum infection.

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  • 1Ministry of Health and Population, Malawi.

Abstract

A hospital-based, prospective study was undertaken at Mangochi District Hospital (MDH) and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Malawi. The malaria-transmission patterns in the catchment areas of these two hospitals are very different, transmission being continuous around MDH and seasonal, occurring mostly during the rainy season, around KCH. The main purpose of the study was to determine and compare the prevalences of cerebral malaria (CM) among young, hospitalized children (aged < 5 years) at both sites. Among 8600 of such children admitted to the two hospitals, the overall prevalence of CM was 2.3% (2.2% at KCH and 2.5% at MDH). The prevalences of CM on admission were similar at the two sites during the rainy season (at 3.2%), but the prevalence at MDH during the dry season was statistically higher than that at KCH over the same period (2.1% v. 1.0%; P = 0.0078). A nearly significant difference was noted between the two sites in the prevalences of parasitaemia on admission (11.9% at KCH v. 9.2% at MDH; P = 0.07), and of severe malarial anaemia (SMA) on admission (5.4% at KCH v. 4.2% at MDH; P = 0.06). No inter-site differences were noted in the prevalences of CM or SMA when analysed by mean age, weight, haemoglobin, body temperature, weight-for-age Z-scores, duration of hospitalization, or proportion with high parasite score on admission. These findings differ from those by researchers in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where the prevalence of CM has been found to be higher in areas with seasonal transmission patterns. It appears that the epidemiology of CM can differ within the same country, with location and season. Whenever possible, therefore, plans to control CM in any sub-Saharan country should be based on locally generated data.

PMID:
10562824
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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