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Case report: Congenital malaria and neonatal bacterial co-infection in twins prematurely born to a mother with sickle-cell anaemia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

August 25, 2017 - 06:11 -- MalariaWorld Journal
Junior E. Mudji, Johannes Blum, Timothy D. Rice, Frederick N. Baliraine
Article type: 
Case report
We report cases of gestational and congenital malaria with twin prematurity, low birth weight and bacterial co-infection. Congenital malaria is often misdiagnosed for lack of specific symptoms and a general lack of awareness of this presumably uncommon condition, and its diagnosis and prognosis become even more complex in the event of bacterial co-infections. A 35-weeks pregnant woman with sickle-cell disease and a history of spontaneous abortions was admitted at Vanga Hospital in DR Congo. She had fever (38.9°C) and microscopy-confirmed P. falciparum malaria and was put on 80/480 mg artemether-lumefantrine. She soon went into active labour, during which both twins developed acute foetal distress and were promptly delivered by C-section. The twins were underweight, and both had P. falciparum malaria at birth and were given 20 mg quinine twice daily. Both developed fever on the third day; a bacterial infection was suspected and 200 mg ceftriaxone was added to their treatment. Fever in both twins quickly resolved, and one twin totally recovered within 2 days of antibiotic treatment. The other twin developed acute respiratory distress and hypoxia and died. This is a case of gestational and congenital malaria with prematurity, low birth weight and bacterial co-infection, but the patients were initially only treated for malaria based on their malaria-positive blood smears at birth. In malaria-endemic areas, babies should be screened for congenital malaria. Even with a confirmed malaria infection in the new-born, it is important consider the possibility of bacterial co-infections.


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