Acute respiratory distress syndrome due to vivax malaria: case report and literature review

Braz J Infect Dis. 2005 Oct;9(5):425-30. doi: 10.1590/s1413-86702005000500011. Epub 2006 Jan 6.


Severe pulmonary involvement in malaria has been frequently reported in cases of Plasmodium falciparum infection, but rarely in vivax malaria. Among the 11 previous cases of vivax-related severe respiratory involvement described in the literature, all except one developed it after the beginning of anti-malarial treatment; these appear to correspond to an exacerbation of the inflammatory response. We report the case of a 43-year-old Brazilian woman living in a malaria-endemic area, who presented acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by P. vivax before starting anti-malarial treatment. The diagnosis was made based on microscopic methods. A negative rapid immunochromatographic assay, based on the detection of Histidine Rich Protein-2 (HRP-2) of P. falciparum, indicated that falciparum malaria was unlikely. After specific anti-plasmodial therapy and intensive supportive care, the patient was discharged from the hospital. We conclude that vivax malaria-associated ARDS can develop before anti-malarial therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology
  • Malaria, Falciparum / diagnosis
  • Malaria, Vivax / complications*
  • Malaria, Vivax / diagnosis*
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Adult / etiology*