African fever patients commonly over-diagnosed with malaria

Monday, July 22, 2013

People hospitalised with fever in Africa are most likely to be treated for malaria but, in some areas, nearly all of these patients are ill from a different infection, a new collaborative study led by a University of Otago researcher suggests.]

In a paradigm-shifting study published today in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, more than 800 severely ill inpatients in Tanzania were carefully studied to identify the causes of their fever.

On admission more than half of patients were diagnosed clinically with , but it turned out that less than 2% actually had malaria when tested. By contrast, invasive bacterial infections like and animal-associated infections like leptospirosis were very common but never considered.

John Crump, McKinlay Professor of Global Health at the University of Otago, and Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Pathology, and Global Health at Duke University Medical Center led the study.

Professor Crump says that malaria has been the diagnosis of choice for fever among healthcare providers and patients in Africa for decades.

Source: Medical Xpress (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases