Author(s): Murphy SC, Breman JG
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Abstract Evaluations of the African childhood malaria burden do not fully quantify the contributions of cerebral malaria (CM), CM-associated neurological sequelae, malarial anemia, respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, and pregnancy-related complications. We estimated the impact of these malaria manifestations on members of the African population < 5 years old. Calculations were based on an extensive literature review that used National Library of Medicine search engines, other bibliographic sources, and demographic data. In sub-Saharan Africa, CM annually affects 575,000 children < 5 years of age and 110,000 (approximately 19\% case fatality rate [CFR]) die. Childhood survivor, of CM experience developmental and behavioral impairments: each year, 9,000-19,000 children (> 2\% of survivors of CM) < 5 years of age in Africa experience neurological complications lasting > 6 months. Severe malarial anemia heavily burdens hospitals with rising admission and CFRs and with treatments that are complicated by limited and sometimes contaminated blood supplies. Severe malarial anemia occurs 1.42-5.66 million times annually and kills 190,000-974,000 (> 13\% CFR) children < 5 years of age annually. Respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, and overlapping clinical manifestations cause 1.12-1.99 million cases and > 225,000 (> 18\% CFR) additional deaths among African children with malaria. Maternal, placental, or fetal malaria infection during pregnancy adversely affects development and survival of fetuses and newborns through low birth weight (LBW), maternal anemia, and possibly abortion and stillbirth. Between 167,000 and 967,000 cases of malaria-associated LBW occur yearly; malaria-induced LBW kills 62,000-363,000 (> 38\% CFR) newborns each year. All the gaps in the burden comprise 0.4-1.7 million deaths annually, > 50\% of which are due to severe malarial anemia. These malaria-induced medical problems constitute major clinical, public health, and research challenges in that they may contribute to more than double the mortality than is generally acknowledged.
This article was published in Am J Trop Med Hyg
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