Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Plasmodium vivax turns potent with complicated cases now being reported

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  The generally mild malarial parasite, Plasmodium vivax, has turned potent with about a dozen complicated cases reported in recent times. The parasite has been found to attack lungs and cause severe respiratory complications.

Malaria is caused mainly by four species of Plamodium. Of these, Plasmodium falciparum has been known for its dangerous health complications including damage to brain and death. The type of malaria caused by common Plasmodium species, vivax, is generally mild and does not cause death.

But of late, cases of potent malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax have been reported from different malaria endemic regions of the country, raising concerns among medical experts and health planners. One such P. vivax complicated case has been reported in a corporate hospital in the city.

"Acute renal failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, hypoglycemia, coma, or epileptic seizures are manifestations of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. On the other hand, Plasmodium vivax malaria seldom results in pulmonary damage, and pulmonary complications are exceedingly rare," says critical care specialist Dr Manimala S Rao.

Dr Manimala and her team treated one such patient. The 42-year-old man had developed acute respiratory distress syndrome. He had been diagnosed as having Plasmodium vivax malaria.

Though P. vivax has symptoms common to other types of malaria, it does not generally exhibit more severe complications like acute renal failure, ARDS and epileptic seizures. The patient was admitted with fever, chills, dry cough, headache, and body pain. He developed respiratory problem and was shifted to intensive care unit.

The team of doctors attending on the patient concluded that malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome.

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