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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 275-279

Pattern of cerebral malaria in children at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital

Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
F E Lesi
Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Cerebral malaria is one of the most lethal forms of malaria. Given that malaria is a constantly evolving disease, it is therefore necessary to document patterns of presentation even in the same centre over a period of time.OBJECTIVE: To document the prevalence and pattern of cerebral malaria in children. DESIGN: Cross-sectional descriptive study of children with cerebral malaria attending the emergency room of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Age, sex, month at which diagnosis was made, associated clinical features, condition at discharge and mortality were assessed. RESULTS: Cerebral malaria was documented in 107/3309 (3.2%) children. There was an equal male:female ratio. Cerebral malaria occurred most frequently between July and September and in children between 2 and 2.9 years. A total of 79/107 (73.8) recovered fully at discharge, 9/107 (8.4%) recovered with some neurological sequelae while 19/107 (17.8%) died. Coma score on admission was significantly lower among those who died compared with those who survived (p = 0.001). Clinical signs observed in these children were seizures-88/107 (82.2%), pallor-75/107 (70.1%), jaundice-55/107 (51.4%) and hepato-splenomegaly-18 (16.8%). However, decerebrate posturing was the only clinical sign associated with a fatal outcome OR, 11.47 (p = 0.009). CONCLUSION: This study shows that cerebral malaria still remains a problem of the under fives with unacceptably high mortality. The clinical significance of decerebrate posture as an indicator of mortality would require further evaluation.

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