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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 140-144

Acute cerebellar ataxia associated with falciparum malaria in Nigerian patients

Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E U Onifade
Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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OBJECTIVE: To describe acute cerebellar ataxia seen in Nigeria patients with acute falciparum malaria. PATIENTS, METHODS AND RESULTS: We report 5 patients seen at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) over a 3-year period with cerebellar ataxia (CA) following proven/presumed acute falciparum malaria. Two of them are children. The youngest is a 7-year-old girl and to our knowledge is the youngest child in which the syndrome has been reported. The mode of presentation is similar to that of patients previously reported with the syndrome from other parts of the world. the minimum duration of ataxia was 2 weeks, while the maximum duration was 6 weeks. All patients received prednisolone for the total duration of symptoms and there was complete resolution of ataxia in them all. CONCLUSION: We suggest that CA associated with acute malaria occurs in Nigerians and that the features are similar to those described from other parts of the world. In comparison with cerebral malaria, this neurological complication of falciparum malaria has a good prognosis, resolving completely in virtually all cases. There is therefore the need to be on the look out for it, in order to appropriately counsel patients.

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