Post-malaria neurologic syndrome.

Gonçalo Matias, Nuno Canas, Isabel Antunes, José Vale


The neurologic symptoms in malaria are usually associated with a severe infection by Plasmodium falciparum. Less frequently, the presence of impaired consciousness, seizures and visual and auditory deficits is related with hypoglycemia (by malaria or quinine) or with the toxicity of anti-malarial drugs. In the last years, it was recognized a rare neurologic complication after the efficient treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria - post-malaria neurologic syndrome (PMNS). PMNS occurs days to weeks after the parasite clearance, presenting as an encephalopathy of variable severity. The pathogenic mechanisms involved in PMNS are not well understood, being admitted a possible immunological cause. We describe a case of a 61-year-old man presenting with a severe encephalopathy (delirium, cerebellar ataxia and ophthalmoparesis ), 2 days after complete recovery from Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Peripheral blood smears were repeatedly negative for malaria parasites. MRI during acute phase showed extensive multifocal white matter abnormalities. He was treated with high-dose methylprednisolone with complete resolution of neurological deficits. After 9 months the MRI showed minimal residual lesions.

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