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Trop Parasitol. 2019 Jul-Dec;9(2):88-92. doi: 10.4103/tp.TP_2_19. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Clinical spectrum of Plasmodium vivax infection, from benign to severe malaria: A tertiary care prospective study in adults from Delhi, India.

Author information

Department of Medicine, PGIMER and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Department of Medicine, Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi, India.



Plasmodium vivax infection has been recognized to be a cause of severe malaria in recent time. We report findings from a prospective observational study aimed at analyzing the clinical spectrum, complications, and outcome of patients infected with P. vivax malaria.

Materials and Methods:

The study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital of Delhi over a period of 2 years. All adults hospitalized with P. vivax malaria, confirmed on peripheral smear and/or rapid diagnostic test, were included in the study. The cases were categorized into uncomplicated and severe malaria groups according to WHO criteria. The clinical and biochemical profile of cases in each group were compared for determining the predictors of severe malaria.


One hundred and fifty consecutive cases of P. vivax monoinfection were included in the study. All patients had fever, and 63 (42%) developed severe malaria, while 87 (58%) were uncomplicated. Vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, altered consciousness, cough with breathlessness, icterus, and hepatosplenomegaly were more frequent in severe malaria. Severe malaria was associated with severe thrombocytopenia, leucopenia, raised serum bilirubin, elevated serum creatinine, and prolonged prothrombin time. Jaundice (54 patients) was the most common complication, followed by acute respiratory distress syndrome, spontaneous bleeding, metabolic acidosis, shock, renal failure, and cerebral malaria. Multiple complications were observed in 17 (26.9%) cases of severe malaria. Overall mortality of 1.33% was recorded. However, case fatality of 40% was observed in cases with evidence of multiorgan dysfunction.


P. vivax malaria has a varying clinical profile, from a relatively benign uncomplicated form to severe, even fatal disease. Certain clinical and laboratory parameters may serve as predictors of severe disease.


Complications; Plasmodium vivax; severe malaria

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