Malaria parasite blood smear positive neonates in Sierra Leone: when should we test for malaria in the neonatal unit?
Kirolos Sandy1,&, Italia Cenere2, María Belén2
1Sierra Leone National ETAT Project, Sierra Leone, 2Médecins
Sans Frontières, OCBA, Koinadugu Project, Sierra Leone Mission, Koinadugu, Sierra
Kirolos Sandy, Sierra Leone National ETAT Project, Sierra Leone
congenital malaria is defined as malaria parasitaemia in the first week of
life and neonatal malaria occurs from day 8 to 28 of life. Although it is thought
to be uncommon in endemic countries, the reported incidence in Sub-saharan Africa
is varied. The aim of this study was to give a report on the prevalence of positive
blood smears for P.
falciparum in a cohort of neonates in a Sierra Leonean district hospital.
a retrospective review was carried out of all neonatal admissions over 6
months, between 1st February
2017 and 31st July 2017, to a district hospital in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone.
Neonates with P. falciparum positive blood smears were identified and analysed.
over the study period the total number of admissions to the neonatal unit
was 135. Twenty-six neonates had a blood smear for malaria parasites tested.
Criteria for testing were clinician dependant, however persistent pyrexia
while on IV antibiotics was the most common reason for testing. Of those tested,
(30.8) were positive for P.
falciparum. The median age at admission was 2 days (range 1 - 10 days), with 3 of 8 being
admissions from the community. The median level of parasitaemia identified
was 80/μL (range 60 - 500/μL). 7 of 8 were symptomatic, with the common feature
of pyrexia > 38°C, and were commenced on IV Artesunate, along with IV antibiotics.
this case series has identified that 30.8% of neonates with blood smears
tested during admission were P.
falciparum positive. Pyrexia was the most common symptom among these patients; however
it was not possible to exclude neonatal sepsis as the attributable cause in
this setting. Although there is no data on the incidence and burden of clinical
malaria in neonates in Sierra Leone, this case series highlights the importance
of having a high level of suspicion for malaria in pyrexial neonates in endemic
Dates: 15 Dec 17 - 16 Dec 17
Venue: Hotel Ngor Diarama
Contact person: Dr. Laurent Hiffler (email@example.com)