Mortality and Sequelae Due to Cerebral Malaria in African Children in Brazzaville, Congo

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  • University Hospital of Brazzaville, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital of Amiens, Brazzaville, Congo

This study was carried out on 170 children admitted to the University Hospital of Brazzaville (Congo) for cerebral malaria between January 1, 1988 and June 30, 1989. The selection criteria were 1) unarousable coma, cerebrospinal fluid without microorganisms or a marked cellular reaction, and the absence of other causes, and 2) that the children lived in Brazzaville. The case fatality rate was 15%. In 75% of the cases, death occurred within the first 48 hr. The prognosis worsened with the stage of the coma and a younger age. At discharge from the hospital, 9% of the cases presented with sequelae. The postcerebral malaria mortality was high; indeed, death occurred in six (7%) of 90 children discharged from the hospital whose parents were contacted between nine and 27 months later. Two deaths were directly related to neurologic sequelae. Among the 58 children examined under satisfactory conditions between nine and 27 months (mean 16.9 months) after discharge, 50% (3 of 6) still presented with attenuated forms of the sequelae observed immediately after the episode of cerebral malaria (cortical blindness had regressed completely, unlike ataxia and loss of balance). Disorders that may have been related to the episode of cerebral malaria were observed in 31% of these 58 cases.