Malaria's ' benign' strain gets deadlier.
MALARIA is becoming deadlier in the national Capital with one of its parasites that causes complications and deaths afflicting a growing number of children.
The National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) recently reported that the parasite causing malaria -- Plasmodium vivax which was considered "benign" in causing complications and deaths among children -- is raising its head in an aggressive form.
Generally, malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum has been associated with severe complications and mortality.
The new trend was established during a study done by Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalya, which is affiliated to the Department of Pediatrics of the Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi. The study was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Vector Borne Diseases, brought out by the NIMR on behalf of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The study showed that Plasmodium vivax is also a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the paediatric age group.
In the study, at total of 198 cases were included and it was found that 64.6 per cent of them were due to Plasmodium vivax , 33.3 per cent due to Plasmodium falciparum and 2 per cent had evidence of mixed infection of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum.
The clinical features on admission were similar in all the groups. In total, 50 per cent of patients with vivax infection had one or more complications, with severe anaemia in 26 per cent and cerebral malaria in 12.5 per cent. Six deaths were reported in such cases.
In the falciparum group, 78.8 per cent had one or more complications, with severe anaemia in 56.1 per cent and cerebral malaria in 36.4 per cent. Four deaths were reported in such cases. The children included were under the age of 12 years.
"Though the complication rate is more in falciparum infection, vivax is responsible for more than half of the severe cases. The spectrum of complications seen in vivax infection is same as of falciparum infection.
Severe complications in malaria include severe anaemia, cerebral malaria, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In the study, eight cases were diagnosed as acute renal failure and received haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
Seven out of these eight were from the vivax group," the study said.
Mortality rate was found to be more in the falciparum group, though the absolute numbers of deaths were more in vivax group.
All the patients who died had multiple severe complications. Cerebral malaria was present in eight out of 10 patients who died. "Vivax patients outnumbered other groups, with regards to severe complications and deaths. It is emerging as an important cause of malaria-related complications in children," said the study.
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