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An Pediatr (Barc). 2009 Sep;71(3):196-200. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2009.05.016. Epub 2009 Jul 19.

[Malaria in the South of Madrid: a clinical and epidemiological review].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Pediatría, Hospital Universitario, Getafe, Madrid, España.



Malaria has increased in Spain, and is potentially severe in children. Information on pediatric malaria in Spain is scarce. The aim is to evaluate the clinical, therapeutic and epidemiological characteristics of children diagnosed with malaria in our hospital.


A retrospective descriptive study was performed on all pediatric cases of malaria diagnosed in Getafe University Hospital, from January 1995 to November 2006. Epidemiological and clinical features, as well as diagnostic methods, treatments and outcome were studied. An analysis of two comparative periods (before and after January 2000) was carried out.


Eighteen cases of confirmed malaria were identified, twelve girls and six boys. The age range was from 13 months to 13 years with a median age of 60 months. All patients had recently travelled to or from endemic countries. Despite having a stable number of admissions to hospital over time, all but two patients were diagnosed in the second period (P<0.01). Fever and gastrointestinal symptoms were the most common symptoms, with liver or spleen enlargement in 75%. Thrombocytopenia and anemia were common. No cases of complicated malaria or death occurred. Plasmodium identification by microscopic examination was used in all cases. Identification of Plasmodium species with PCR was carried out in 16 children. P. falciparum was found in 89% of these cases. Quinine-sulphate and clindamycin were used in 72%.


The incidence of pediatric malaria is increasing in the southern area of Madrid, with P. falciparum as the most frequently identified species. Microscopic visualization or identification of its antigen are gold-standard diagnostic methods, however, identification with PCR is essential upon admission to determine the species and discard possible multiple infestations. Pediatricians must learn to suspect this potentially severe disease, in order to establish an early treatment that may improve the prognosis.

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