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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2013 May;107(5):307-12. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trt013.

The underlying aetiologies of coma in febrile Sudanese children.

Author information

1
Paediatric Department, The National Ribat University, PO Box Burri 55, Khartoum, Sudan. eisaelamin@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cerebral malaria, acute bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis are the main causes of fever and altered consciousness in the tropics. In areas where reliable laboratory testing is unavailable, over diagnosis and misdiagnosis of these conditions is likely. In malaria endemic countries non-malarial contributors to coma may be overlooked, overburdening available resources. The aim of this study is to evaluate the underlying causes of altered mental state in children presenting with fever and coma to tertiary medical facilities in Sudan.

METHODS:

Children over one month of age admitted to the emergency departments of three main hospitals in Khartoum with fever and coma were investigated for cerebral malaria, acute bacterial meningitis and Herpes simplex encephalitis during April to November 2011.

RESULTS:

One hundred and four children presenting with fever and coma were evaluated. Cerebral malaria was clinically suspected in 38 patients and 5 were confirmed. Acute bacterial meningitis was suspected in 63 patients and confirmed in 15. Herpes encephalitis was confirmed in only one case. There were five cases of mixed infection and the remainder were unknown.

CONCLUSION:

The clinical diagnoses of cerebral malaria, acute bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis are unreliable. Further studies to evaluate the underlying causes of coma in febrile Sudanese children are warranted.

PMID:
23584374
DOI:
10.1093/trstmh/trt013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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