A prospective study on adult patients of severe malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax and mixed infection from Bikaner, northwest India

D K Kochar, Ashis Das, Abhishek Kochar, Sheetal Middha, Jyoti Acharya, G S Tanwar, Deepak Pakalapati, A K Subudhi, P A Boopathi, Shilpi Garg, S K Kochar
Journal of Vector Borne Diseases 2014, 51 (3): 200-10

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Description of severe vivax malaria and mixed species infection requires good clinical study. The present study was undertaken to evalute the characteristics of severe malaria patients in Bikaner, northwest India.

METHODS: This prospective study included 539 admitted adult patients of severe malaria (Plasmodium falciparum 274, P. vivax 221, and mixed infection of Pv + Pf 44). The diagnosis was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. The categorization of severe malaria was done strictly as per WHO criteria.

RESULTS: The distribution of severe manifestation was similar in severe vivax, falciparum and mixed infections except more cases of thrombocytopenia in P. vivax (p=0.030) and in mixed infection (p=0.004). The risk of developing severe malaria was greatest in patients of mixed infection [53.01% (44/83)] in comparison to Plasmodium falciparum malaria [49.37% (274/555), RR= 1.135; p=0.616] and P. vivax malaria [45.38% (221/ 487), RR = 1.299, p=0.243]. Hepatic dysfunction was the commonest pernicious syndrome [P. falciparum 50% (137/274), P. vivax 43.89% (97/221), and mixed infections 54.55% (24/44)]. Multiorgan dysfunction was present in 40.26% (217/539) patients, the risk was greatest in mixed infection [90.90% (40/44)] in comparison to P. falciparum monoinfection [37.59% (103/274), RR = 12.238; p=0.0001] or P. vivax monoinfection [33.48% (74/ 221), RR = 13.25; p=0.0001]. The risk of mortality in severe malaria was 6.31% (34/539) in which mixed infection had greater risk [9.09% (4/44)] in comparison to P. falciparum [7.30% (20/274); OR = 1.270 (CI 0.347-4.217); p=0.757] or P. vivax [4.52% (10/221); 0R 2.110 (CI 0.527-7.826); p=0.260].

INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: Severe vivax or falciparum malaria had almost similar features and prognosis including mortality. Risk of developing severe malaria, multiorgan dysfunction and mortality was more in patients of mixed infection in comparison to P. falciparum or P. vivax monoinfection. A multicentric study on larger number of patients requires further confirmation.

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