Delayed cerebellar ataxia complicating falciparum malaria: a clinical study of 74 patients

J Neurol. 1994 Jun;241(7):456-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00900965.


We report the clinical features of 74 patients with delayed cerebellar ataxia (DCA) following falciparum malaria, who were prospectively followed up at two centres. This unusual complication has an acute onset, with signs suggesting a predominantly midline cerebellar lesion without any evidence of cerebral involvement. There was a delay of a median 13 days between the onset of fever and the onset of ataxia. DCA has a good prognosis, with spontaneous and complete recovery within 3 months. In our opinion, it is an example of a post-infective neurological syndrome possibly mediated via an immune mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / diagnosis
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies