Volume 89, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocytosis in severe malaria was assessed in 87 children in Papua New Guinea participating in a detailed longitudinal observational study who had undergone lumbar puncture for further investigation of altered consciousness and/or convulsions. After rigorous exclusion of non-malarial infection, 16 (20.5%) of 78 children with monoinfection but 0 of 9 with /mixed-species malaria had a detectable CSF leukocytosis, which was unrelated to prior, including complex, seizures. There were eight children with a CSF leukocyte density > 10 cells/μL (9.2% of the total sample), half of whom had cerebral malaria (4 of 22, 18.1%). Cerebrospinal fluid leukocytosis is infrequent in severe pediatric malaria, especially in children with infections, and it is generally mild. Its presence in a blood slide–positive child should prompt consideration of alternative diagnoses and empiric antibiotic therapy.


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  • Received : 22 May 2013
  • Accepted : 10 Jun 2013

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