Predictors of childhood severe malaria in a densely populated area: Douala, Cameroon
The physiopathology of malaria is complex. More understanding would be useful for a better management of the disease. This study was undertaken to describe clinical presentation and some biochemical parameters in childhood malaria in order to identify some factors of disease severity. Eighty six (86) children (0 to 15 years old) were recruited in Douala, clinical data recorded and blood sample collected. Thirty one (31) healthy children were also targeted to serve as control. Blood glucose, hemoglobin, transaminases and nitric oxide were determined by spectrophotometry. C reactive protein (CRP) was also investigated. The results confirmed that severe malaria significantly affects children under 5 years. Severe malaria was associated with hyperpyrexia and prostration. Coma, convulsions and unconsciousness were more indicative of cerebral malaria. Hemoglobin and blood glucose levels decreased significantly in severe malaria patients compared with uncomplicated malaria patients or controls (P < 0.001). On the contrary, blood transaminases and CRP levels increased significantly in malaria patients compared to controls (P < 0.001). From these results, it is clear that childhood severe malaria is associated with prostration, coma, unconsciousness, convulsions and hyperpyrexia. Low levels of haemoglobin and glycemia, as well as high levels of transaminases and CRP has been identified as predictor of malaria severity.
Keywords: Childhood malaria, clinical presentation, physiopathology