Neurological manifestations following cured malaria: don’t forget post-malaria neurological syndrome

  • Foued Bellazreg
  • Dorsaf Slama
  • Nadia Ben Lasfar
  • Maha Abid
  • Houneida Zaghouani
  • Sana Rouis
  • Wissem Hachfi
  • Amel Letaief
Keywords: Post-malaria neurological syndrome; immunologic; corticosteroid.

Abstract

Introduction: Cerebral malaria which occurs during the active infection is the most common neurological complication of malaria. Other complications including post-malaria neurological syndrome (PMNS) can rarely occur following complete recovery from the disease. We report a case of post-malaria neurological syndrome in a Tunisian patient.

Case presentation: A 26-year-old Tunisian man with no past medical history was admitted in 2016 for a muscle weakness of the 4 limbs, seizures, tetraparesis and myoclonus which appeared after he returned from Côte d’Ivoire where he had been treated three weeks ago for Plasmodium falciparum malaria with favorable outcome. Blood smears for malaria were negative. Brain MRI showed multiple hypersignal cerebral lesions. Investigations didn’t show any infectious, metabolic, toxic, vascular or tumoral etiology. Thus, the diagnosis of PMNS was considered. The patient was treated with methylprednisolone with favorable outcome. Two years later, he was completely asymptomatic.

Conclusion: PMNS should be considered in patients with neurological symptoms occurring within two months of cured acute disease in which blood smears for malaria are negative and other etiologies have been ruled out. In most cases, the disease is self-limited while in severe cases corticosteroid therapy should be prescribed with favorable outcome.

Keywords: Post-malaria neurological syndrome; immunologic; corticosteroid.

Published
2021-04-16
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1680-6905