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This chapter summarizes recommendations on important aspects of the management of patients with severe malaria and severe dengue. Severe falciparum malaria requires rapid parasitological diagnosis by microscopy or rapid diagnostic test (RCT) and prompt initiation of parenteral artesunate. Fluid bolus therapy should be avoided in patients without hypotensive shock, and we suggest initial (24 h) crystalloid fluid therapy of 2–4 mL/kg/h, which may subsequently be reduced to 1 mL/kg/h in patients receiving additional fluids, e.g., through enteral tube feeding. In the minority of those patients presenting with hypotensive shock, we suggest fluid bolus therapy (30 mL/kg) with an isotonic crystalloid and early initiation of vasopressor support. Enteral feeding in non-intubated adult patients with cerebral malaria can start after 60 h, to avoid aspiration pneumonia. There are insufficient data to suggest this in pediatric cerebral malaria. The diagnosis of severe dengue is commonly with a combined dengue antigen (NS1) and antibody RDT. No antiviral treatment is currently available. Dengue shock results from capillary leakage, although hemorrhage or depression of myocardial contractility can contribute. The World Health Organization guidelines recommend restoration of the circulation guided by pulse pressure, capillary refill time, hematocrit, and urine output. Large (>15 mL/kg) rapid (<30 min) fluid boluses should be avoided, but prompt fluid administration with crystalloids is essential and should be restricted as soon as the critical phase is over to avoid pulmonary edema. Corticosteroids are not recommended, neither is platelet transfusion for thrombocytopenia in the absence of active bleeding or other risk factors.


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Mahidol–Oxford Research Unit (MORU), Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand