Date: 11 Dec 2012

Management of Severe Malaria: Results from Recent Trials

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Abstract

Globally, malaria remains a substantial public health burden with an estimated 349–552 million clinical cases of P. falciparum malaria each year—leading to 780,000 deaths directly attributable to the disease. Whilst the outcome from severe malaria in Africa children remains poor, recent developments in the management of malaria have come from two key sources—the introduction of new, safe and rapidly-effective anti-malarials and high quality evidence from two of the largest clinical trials ever conducted in African children with severe malaria. As a result, the time-honoured anti-malarial treatment for severe malaria, quinine, will now be replaced by artesunate, a water-soluble artemisinin derivative. Supportive care, specifically the management of shock, has been informed by a large late phase clinical trial which concluded that bolus resuscitation is harmful and therefore should be avoided in children with severe malaria, including the high risk group with severe metabolic acidosis and advanced shock.