Severe malaria is caused by the protozoan infection of red blood cells with Plasmodium falciparum and comprises a variety of syndromes requiring hospitalisation. Clinically complicated malaria presents with life threatening conditions, which include coma, severe anaemia, renal failure, respiratory distress syndrome, hypoglycaemia, shock, spontaneous haemorrhage, and convulsions. The diagnosis of cerebral malaria should be considered where there is encephalopathy in the presence of malaria parasites. A strict definition of cerebral malaria is unrousable coma and no other cause of encephalopathy (for example, hypoglycaemia, sedative drugs) in the presence of P falciparum infection. This review does not include the treatment of malaria in pregnancy.
Omari, A.; Garner, P. Severe life threatening malaria in endemic areas. British Medical Journal (2004) 328 (7432) 154. [DOI: 10.1136/bmj.328.7432.154]