Drug Discov Ther. 2020;14(6):330-335. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2020.03110)

Clinical spectrum and predictors of severe Plasmodium vivax infections at a tertiary care center in North India

Walia D, Arora U, Baitha U, Kumar A, Ranjan P, Soneja M, Verma N, Khan MA, Aggarwal P, Biswas A, Wig N


Traditionally attributed only to Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax has recently been reported to cause a significant burden of complicated malaria cases. The present study aimed to delineate the clinical spectrum and identify predictors for severe disease. This was a prospective observational cohort study conducted at a tertiary care hospital in North India. Patients with acute febrile illness (AFI) aged at least 14 years were included if they were diagnosed with vivax malaria based on rapid kits or peripheral smears. Clinical data and investigations during hospital stay was recorded. 439 cases of acute febrile illness were screened, of whom 50 (11%) were diagnosed with malaria including eight P. falciparum infections. Forty-two vivax malaria cases, 22 (52%) of whom were severe, were followed till discharge or death. The median age of the cohort was 24.5 years (Q1-Q3, 19-36 years), including a total of 29 males (69%). Severe malaria was more frequently associated with historical complaints of oliguria or dyspnea, and examination findings of pallor, splenomegaly or altered sensorium. The following five factors were identified to predict severe disease: prolonged illness over 7 days, symptoms of oliguria or dyspnea, examination findings of pallor or crepitations on auscultation. Malaria accounts for 1 in 10 cases of AFI at our North Indian tertiary care center and approximately half of them present with severe disease. Prolonged duration of disease prior to presentation is a modifiable predictor for severe disease and should be targeted for reducing morbidity.

KEYWORDS: Malaria, acute febrile illness, disease severity, tropical infections

Full Text: