Delayed diagnosis of malaria in a dengue endemic area in the Brazilian extra-Amazon: recent experience of a malaria surveillance unit in state of Rio de Janeiro

INTRODUCTION: The mortality of malaria in the extra-Amazon region is about 80 times higher than in the Amazon region, where malaria is concentrated (99.8% of cases). In areas of dengue transmission, delay in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria in patients with fever who reside in areas of malaria transmission can be due to the confusion between the clinical diagnoses of both diseases by nonspecialist doctors, among other factors. This work presents some of the consequences of delayed diagnosis in three patients with malaria by Plasmodium falciparum, P. malariae and P. vivax, who, after following the usual route for Dengue treatment, sought our institution, where they were correctly diagnosed and adequately treated. METHODS: Description of three cases of malaria with delayed diagnosed malaria referred to the Outpatient Clinic for Acute Febrile Diseases, IPEC/FIOCRUZ-RJ, between 2007 and 2008. RESULTS: A Brazilian from Mozambique, primo-infected with P. falciparum was diagnosed with malaria six days after the onset of fever and died of cerebral malaria and shock. Another patient with P.malariae malaria presented a severe and prolonged course, but was cured after specific treatment. A third patient, with delayed diagnosis of P. vivax malaria, acquired it in the Atlantic Forest region in the State of Rio. CONCLUSIONS: Health professionals from non-endemic areas for malaria should be trained to optimize the surveillance and early treatment of malaria and prevent morbid and fatal outcomes. An investigation of outbreaks of autochthonous malaria in the State of Rio de Janeiro is suggested.

Malaria; Dengue; Diagnosis; Surveillance

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