Neurological features of cerebral malaria in Nigerian children.
Cerebral malaria is one of the commonest causes of an acute neurological syndrome in malaria-endemic areas. However, there are few detailed reports of findings on clinical neurological examination of the condition. The neurological features of cerebral malaria in 103 children aged 5 years or less were studied in Ibadan, Nigeria, an area of high malaria transmission. The correlation of these features with prognosis was also studied. Convulsions occurred in 87% of subjects and were in most cases of a generalized tonic-clinic nature. Abnormalities of posture were observed in 41%, abnormal tone in 70% and abnormal deep tendon reflexes in 74%. Absent corneal reflexes were found in about 14%. The time interval between the last seizure episode and presentation in hospital, abnormal posture (decerebrate or decorticate), absence of corneal reflex and depth and duration of coma were indicators of poor prognosis. In this study, cerebral malaria presented with non-specific features of diffuse, symmetrical, upper motor neurone dysfunction, and some specific neurological features were associated with poor prognosis. It is important that cerebral malaria be considered in any child with features of acute encephalopathy in a malaria-endemic area. Careful clinical examination of such children is essential as neurological features of the condition may provide a clue to prognosis.
Olumese, PE; Gbadegesin, RA; Adeyemo, AA; Brown, B; Walker, A
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