An autopsy case of sudden unexplained death caused by malaria

Ritesh G. Menezes, Tanuj Kanchan, Sharada Rai, P. P. Jagadish Rao, Ramadas Naik, B. Suresh Kumar Shetty, Stany W. Lobo, Aman Chauhan, Mahabalesh Shetty, Alka Mary Mathai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Sudden unexplained deaths, especially those unwitnessed can lead to forensic issues and would necessitate the need for a meticulous and complete postmortem examination including ancillary investigations to discover the cause of death. We herein report a case of sudden unexplained death caused by malaria in an apparently healthy individual. This fatal case is presented to remind the forensic pathologist of the possibility of malaria as a cause of sudden unexplained death in malaria-endemic regions. In the present case, histopathological examination demonstrated the presence of parasitized red blood cells with malarial pigment in the blood capillaries in the brain, myocardium, pericardium, lungs, kidneys, liver, and the spleen. Cerebral malaria with acute renal insufficiency or pulmonary edema with an acute respiratory distress syndrome might have been the cause of death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-838
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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