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Malaria in infants below six months of age: retrospective surveillance of hospital admission records in Blantyre, Malawi

Larru, Beatriz, Molyneux, Elizabeth, terKuile, Feiko ORCID:, Taylor, Terrie, Molyneux, Malcolm E and Terlouw, Anja ORCID: (2009) 'Malaria in infants below six months of age: retrospective surveillance of hospital admission records in Blantyre, Malawi'. Malaria Journal, Vol 8(1), Issue 310, p. 310.

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Background: Information on the burden of malaria in early infancy is scarce. Young infants are relatively
protected against clinical malaria during the first six months of life due to the presence of maternal
antibodies and foetal haemoglobin, and have received relatively little attention with respect to research
and treatment guidelines. The World Health Organization provides treatment guidelines for children from
six months onwards, without specific treatment guidelines for the younger infants. A number of recent
reports however suggest that the burden in this young age group may be underestimated.
Methods: A retrospective review of paediatric hospital records at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital
in Blantyre from 1998 to 2008 from three data sources was carried out. The number of admitted infants
<6 months and ≤ 15 years was obtained from the registry books of the Paediatric-Nursery-Department
and the Malaria Research Laboratory. For the period 2001 - 2004, more detailed malaria related admission
information was available as part of an ongoing study on severe malaria, allowing a calculation of the
proportion of infants < 6 months of age among admissions in children < 5 years.
Results: Retrospective analysis of hospital records showed that over the course of these years, the
average annual proportion of paediatric admissions in children ≤ 15 years with confirmed malaria aged <6
months was 4.8% and ranged between 2.8%-6.7%. This proportion was stable throughout the seasons.
Between 2001-2004, 9.9% of admissions with confirmed malaria in children <5 years occurred in infants
<6 months, with numbers increasing steadily during the first six months of life.
Conclusions: These findings are consistent with recent reports suggesting that the burden of malaria
during the six first months of life may be substantial, and highlight that more research is needed on doseoptimization,
safety and efficacy of anti-malarials that are currently used off-label in this vulnerable patient

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:
Subjects: QV Pharmacology > Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Anti-Infective Agents. Antineoplastic Agents > QV 256 Antimalarials
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WS Pediatrics > By Age Groups > WS 420 Newborn infants. Neonatology
WS Pediatrics > By Age Groups > WS 430 Infancy
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Helen Wong
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2010 08:45
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 08:56


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