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Severe falciparum malaria: treatment options in the UK 

Severe falciparum malaria: treatment options in the UK
Severe falciparum malaria: treatment options in the UK

Marcus Eder

, and Amber Arnold

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date: 29 July 2021

Malaria is the first consideration in any unwell patient who has been in a malaria-endemic area within the last year. A case of severe falciparum malaria is presented here with particular focus on issues related to the treatment and recognition of this condition in the UK. In the UK, poor outcomes come from a delay in the diagnosis; therefore the most important step in improving outcomes is to remember and test for this common tropical disease. Although malaria blood films are the gold standard in diagnosis and give additional information than just the diagnosis, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are extremely useful, particularly in laboratories unfamiliar with looking at a malaria film. It is important to make an assessment of the severity of infection to identify those with a risk of a poor outcome. A discussion focusing on the choice of antimalarial agent for severe malaria infection, including a comparison of artesunate and quinine, follows the case.

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