Congenital Malaria Presenting as Neonatal Sepsis

Sahana Devadas, Manu Malenahalli Ashok, Sarala Sabapathy, Rekha Takkalakki Devendrappa

Abstract

Congenital malaria is a rare disease that occurs through vertical transmission of malarial parasites from the mother to the neonate, either during pregnancy or delivery.

A 23-day-old male neonate presented with fever, refusal of feeds, and hurried breathing for the past 3 days. On enquiry, it was found that antenatally the mother had fever with chills intermittently throughout gestation but had not taken any treatment. The neonate was hemodynamically stable but pale and had grade 3 splenomegaly. Peripheral smear revealed ring and trophozoite forms of Plasmodium vivax and a few ring forms of Plasmodium falciparum, suggestive of congenital malaria. The peripheral smear of the mother also revealed trophozoite forms of P vivax. Clinical features of congenital malaria include anemia, fever, hepatosplenomegaly, poor feeding, jaundice, and thrombocytopenia.

The present case had most of the features. As the condition was confirmed with peripheral smear, the treatment for the same was initiated with blood schizonticides. As congenital malaria is a rare condition, it should be included in the differential diagnosis of neonatal sepsis.

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