Severe falciparum malaria in children in Enugu, South East Nigeria

  • B.O. Edelu
  • I.K. Ndu
  • O.O. Igbokwe
  • O.N. Iloh
Keywords: Children, Enugu, falciparum, malaria, Nigeria


Introduction: Severe malaria remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia despite several efforts in prevention and management. The prevalence and pattern of presentation may vary from one location to another and from one age group to another.

Objectives: This study was undertaken to review the prevalence and pattern of severe malaria among children presenting in the two tertiary hospitals in Enugu, south-east Nigeria. Methods: The case records of children presenting with malaria in the two tertiary hospitals in the state were retrieved and the necessary information were obtained using a structured questionnaire.

Results: The children aged from 1 month to 184 months (15 years), with a median age of 36 months and mean age of 49.2 ± 42.7 months. About two-thirds (68/102, 66.7%) of the children were under the age of 5 years, with only 6 of them (8.8%) being 6 months and below. There were significantly more males than females (χ2 = 6.48, P = 0.01); with a M:F ratio of 1.55:1. The peak of presentation was from August and November. Prostration, respiratory distress and severe anaemia were the commonest features of severe malaria, while shock, acute renal failure and abnormal bleeding were the least presenting features Of all the features, only severe anaemia was significantly related to age, (χ2 = 5.027, P = 0.02). Sixty-one (59.8%) of the children had one or more co-morbidities. There were 2 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 1.96%.

Conclusion: Early presentation will significantly reduce blood transfusions, prolonged admission and death in children with severe malaria.

Keywords: Children, Enugu, falciparum, malaria, Nigeria


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eISSN: 1119-3077