Malaria Control & Elimination

ISSN: 2470-6965

Open Access

Difficulties in Diagnosis of Malaria in Non-Endemic Areas: A Case Report of a Child in Brazil


Yvone Maia Brustoloni, Pamela Mantovani Baldissera, Fernanda Maia Brustoloni and Maria Elizabeth Cavalheiros Dorval

Malaria is a tropical parasitic disease that triggers severe social and economic problems worldwide and causes thousands of deaths each year. Early diagnosis enables proper treatment. People from non-endemic areas who travel to areas of transmission are often exposed to late or incorrect diagnosis because healthcare professionals have great difficulty in conceiving malaria as a diagnostic hypothesis. In addition, technicians skilled in recognizing malaria etiologic agent are not abundant. This paper addresses the case of a child from a non-endemic malaria region in Brazil, with a prior hypothetic diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis, however bone marrow aspirate revealed Plasmodium instead of Leishmania. A retrospective epidemiological investigation showed a history of a recent trip to a malaria area and the review of blood smears obtained on admission disclosed a large number of trophozoites and gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum that had been unnoticed, suggesting that diagnosis could have been possible earlier. Malaria clinical picture is easily mistaken for other febrile infectious diseases, thus the possibility of its occurrence cannot be ruled out. There is a need to increasingly train the microscopy technicians, both in endemic and non-endemic areas, so as to minimize the false diagnoses and decrease morbidity and mortality of the disease.


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