Diagnosis and Treatment of Malaria in Children

William Stauffer, Philip R. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Malaria continues to be a problem for children returning or immigrating to industrialized countries from tropical regions. Proper diagnosis begins with clinical suspicion. In nonimmune children, malaria typically presents with high fever that might be accompanied by chills and headache. Symptoms and signs may be more subtle in partially immune children, and anemia and hepatosplenomegaly may also be present. Children may present with respiratory distress and/or rapidly progressing cerebral malaria that manifests as altered sensorium and, sometimes, seizures. Thick blood smears help to determine when infection is present, but a single smear without parasites is not sufficient to rule out malaria. Thin blood smears aid in identifying the species of parasite. Treatment must include careful supportive care, and intensive care measures should be available for treating children with complicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Medical regimens can include mefloquine, atovaquone-proguanil, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, quinine or quinidine, clindamycin, doxycycline, chloroquine, and primaquine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1340-1348
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2003

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