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Cent Afr J Med. 1997 Aug;43(8):231-4.

The pattern of neurological sequelae of childhood cerebral malaria among survivors in Calabar, Nigeria.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Nigeria.



To determine the pattern and long term outcome of neurological complications following cerebral malaria (CM) in a group of Nigerian children treated in Calabar.


Prospective, follow up study.


Children's emergency room (CHER) of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) located in a malaria-holoendemic rainforest belt of south eastern Nigeria.


Survivors among 45 children with CM treated between February and December, 1991. All received intravenous quinine infusion and supportive care. Survivors (39) were followed up until detected neurological sequelae had resolved.


Case fatality rate was 13.3%, 95% CI. Eleven (28.2%) of the survivors developed neurological sequelae. Prolonged coma, focal seizures and abnormal posturing (decorticate/decerebrate) were associated with increased risk of sequelae. Commonest neurological sequelae were cortical blindness (3/11), speech disorders (3/11: aphasia or echolalia) and motor abnormalities (5/11: dyskinesia/hemiplegia). Eight cases recovered completely from the neurological deficits within a mean period of three (1.3) weeks. One persisted with hyperactivity and attention deficit, had a remarkable improvement at the sixth month of follow up but developed secondary dyslexia and other learning disabilities by the third year of follow up.


Although short lived, neurological sequelae of CM appear common among these Nigerian children. This problem could significantly add to the burden of childhood disability in Nigeria. Early diagnosis, use of appropriate drugs and large scale malaria control programmes can prevent malady.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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