Volume 55, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



infection is an important cause of the high childhood mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa. Increasingly, the contribution of -associated severe anemia to pediatric mortality is being recognized while the impact of chloroquine resistance on mortality has not been evaluated. To address the issues of pediatric mortality, causes of death among hospitalized children less than five years of age in western Kenya were identified using standardized clinical examinations and laboratory evaluations. Follow-up examinations were conducted to determine the child's clinical status posthospitalization. Of the 1,223 children admitted to Siaya District Hospital from March to September 1991, 293 (24%) were severely anemic (hemoglobin level < 5.0 g/dL). There were 265 (22%) deaths; 121 (10%) occurred in-hospital and 144 (13%) occurred out-of-hospital within eight weeks after admission; 32% of all deaths were associated with malaria. Treatment for malaria with chloroquine was associated with a 33% case fatality rate compared with 11% for children treated with more effective regimens (pyrimethamine/sulfa, quinine, or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for five days). The risk of dying was associated with younger age ( < 0.0001) and severe anemia (relative risk [RR] = 1.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22, 1.90), and was decreased by treatment with an effective antimalarial drug (RR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.19, 0.65). Effective drug therapy for with regimens that are parasitocidal in areas with a high prevalence of severe anemia and chloroquine resistance can significantly improve the survival of children in Africa.


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