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Observations on the relative frequency of severe malaria in young children seen in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria.
Malaria accounts for 10% of deaths in children below the age of 5 years in Nigeria. These deaths are due to severe forms of malaria. Reports on the frequency of manifestation of severe malaria in this age group are scanty. Therefore 309 children aged 6 months to 5 years with falciparum malaria and no other identifiable cause of fever were evaluated by clinical and laboratory methods for manifestations of severe malaria, using the World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria for defining severe malaria. The findings show that 93 (30.1%) had non-severe malaria, while 216 (69.9%) had manifestations of severe malaria. Hyperpyrexia occurred in 153/216 (71.0%) of patients and was relatively more common in children aged 3-5 years (64.0%). 81/216 (38.0%) of cases had severe anaemia which was more common in children below 3 years of age (47.0%) than in those aged 3-5 years (6.0%). 24/216 (11.0%) of all cases had cerebral malaria as well as hypoglycaemia. Cerebral malaria was more common in children aged less than 3 years (13.0%) than in those aged 3-5 years groups (12.0%). Hyperparasitaemia occurred in 12/216 (6.0%) of patients and was equally common in both age groups. Nine (4.0%) children had jaundice with 4.0% of them aged below 3 years while 6.0% were aged between 3-5 years.
Conclusion; Hyperpyrexia, severe anaemia, cerebral malaria and hypoglycaemia were the most frequently observed manifestations of severe malaria in this age group in Benin City, Nigeria.
Keywords:Frequency; Manifestation; Severe Malaria; Young Children; Benin City.
Annals of Biomedical Science Vol. 1 (1) 2002: pp. 30-37