Cerebral malaria owing to Plasmodium vivax: case report

Ann Trop Paediatr. 2006 Jun;26(2):141-4. doi: 10.1179/146532806X107494.


Cerebral malaria is a diffuse encephalopathy associated with seizures and status epilepticus which can occur in up to one-third of children with severe malaria, particularly that caused by Plasmodium falciparum. We report a unique case of P. vivax infection complicated by status epilepticus. A 4-year-old boy was admitted to the emergency outpatient clinic with intractable seizures for the previous hour. During resuscitation, two episodes of left-focal tonic convulsions occurred and he received phenytoin. Because of a history of P. vivax infection in the family 3 months previously, a blood slide for malaria was undertaken. Thin blood smears demonstrated P. vivax. He was treated with chloroquine and primaquine. An initial EEG was normal but after 3 months of follow-up a second EEG showed generalised epileptic activity. Rarely, cerebral malaria is a presenting complication or occurs during the course of P. vivax infection. In endemic areas such as Turkey, the possibility of cerebral malaria should be considered.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Brain / parasitology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Cerebral / drug therapy
  • Malaria, Cerebral / microbiology*
  • Malaria, Vivax / complications*
  • Malaria, Vivax / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Plasmodium vivax* / isolation & purification
  • Primaquine / therapeutic use
  • Status Epilepticus / drug therapy
  • Status Epilepticus / microbiology*
  • Turkey


  • Antimalarials
  • Chloroquine
  • Primaquine