Kemebradikumo Pondei, Onyaye E. Kunle-Olowu and Oliemen Peterside
Differentiating between causes of febrile illness i s difficult in malaria-endemic regions where presumptive treatment of all fevers as malaria is p ractised. To ascertain the proportion of febrile illnesses attributable to malaria and non-malaria c auses among children in a tertiary health instituti on in a malaria-endemic area, blood, ear swab, throat swab and urine samples were obtained from 190 children with febrile illness. Giemsa-stained thick and thin blood films were examined for malaria parasite, while the swabs and urine samples were in oculated on appropriate media and cultured. Standard techniques were used to identify micro-org anisms. The proportion of fevers attributable to malaria only was 48.42% (95% CI: 41.32 - 55.52), wh ilst the proportion of fevers attributable to bacte rial infection only was 12.63% (95% CI: 7.93 - 17.33). T he cause of fever could not be detected in 62 patie nts (32.63%: 95% CI: 25.97 - 39.29). There were no sign ificant differences in white blood cell counts betw een the patients. Our study highlights the importance o f other causes of fever outside malaria in malaria- endemic regions, as just over half of the fevers co uld be linked to malaria. Diagnostic facilities sho uld be strengthened physicians educated on other causes of fever.
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