Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BackgroundFew recent descriptions of severe childhood malaria have been published from high-transmission regions. In the current study, the clinical epidemiology of severe malaria in Mbale, Eastern Uganda, is described, where the entomological inoculation rate exceeds 100 infective bites per year.MethodsA prospective descriptive study was conducted to determine the prevalence, clinical spectrum and outcome of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in Eastern Uganda. All children aged 2 months-12 years who presented on Mondays to Fridays between 8.00 am and 5.00 pm from 5th May 2011 until 30th April 2012 were screened for parasitaemia. Clinical and laboratory data were then collected from all P. falciparum positive children with features of WHO-defined severe malaria by use of a standardized proforma.ResultsA total of 10 208 children were screened of which 6582 (64%) had a positive blood film. Of these children, 662 (10%) had clinical features of severe malaria and were consented for the current study. Respiratory distress was the most common severity feature (554; 83.7%), while 365/585 (62.4%) had hyperparasitaemia, 177/662 (26.7%) had clinical jaundice, 169 (25.5%) had severe anaemia, 134/660 (20.2%) had hyperlactataemia (lactate ≥ 5 mmol/L), 93 (14.0%) had passed dark red or black urine, 52 (7.9%) had impaired consciousness and 49/662 (7.4%) had hypoxaemia (oxygen saturations ConclusionsSevere childhood malaria remains common in Eastern Uganda where it continues to be associated with high mortality. An unusually high proportion of children with severe malaria had jaundice or gave a history of having recently passed dark red or black urine, an issue worthy of further investigation.

Original publication





Malaria journal

Publication Date





Faculty of Health Sciences, Busitema University, Mbale Campus, P.O. Box 1460, Mbale, Uganda.


Humans, Parasitemia, Malaria, Cerebral, Malaria, Falciparum, Anemia, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Child, Child, Preschool, Infant, Hospitals, Uganda, Female, Male