BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Majority of the studies on severe malaria in India have concentrated on falciparum and have been done in northern part. The objective of the study was to compare the clinical spectrum and laboratory profile among severe Plasmodium vivax, P. falciparum and mixed malaria patients admitted at a tertiary care center in southern India. METHODS: This prospective, observational study was done in adult patients with severe malaria hospitalized in a tertiary care centre in southern India. Malaria was diagnosed by either quantitative buffy coat test or peripheral blood smear. In the cases of P. vivax malaria, an antigen detection test was done to rule out coexistent falciparum infection. Severe malaria was defined as per the WHO guidelines. The malaria severity score (MSS) was calculated for all patients based on the clinical features and laboratory parameters. RESULTS: A total of 204 cases of severe malaria were studied. Among them, 105 (51.5%) had vivax infection, 30 (14.7%) had falciparum and 69 (33.8%) patients had mixed malaria. The mean age of the study population was 39.8±15.7 yr. The majority were males (71.6%). Hypotension and prostration were the most common complications noted in the patients, irrespective of species. The maximum mean MSS was found to be highest in falciparum malaria, followed by mixed malaria and vivax. In vivax malaria, majority of patients (71.4%) had one or two complications and only 28.57% of patients had three more complications, whereas in falciparum malaria, the majority (53.33%) had three or more complications. Around 44.93% of mixed infection malaria patients had three or more complications. The number of patients with multi-organ dysfunction (>2 complications) was significantly more in patients with falciparum infections compared to the remaining patients. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: Severe malaria in south India is predominantly due to vivax. Hypotension and prostration were the most common complication of severe malaria irrespective of the plasmodium species. The entire spectrum of severe malaria complications described for falciparum are seen in severe vivax malaria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases