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Malaria is an uncommon cause of adult sepsis in south-western Uganda

  • 2013/05/01
Type de publication
  • Articles
  • Auma MA
  • Siedner MJ
  • Nyehangane D
  • Nalusaji A
  • Nakaye M
  • Mwanga-Amumpaire J
  • Muhindo R
  • Wilson LA
  • Boum Y 2nd
  • Moore CC.
  • Paludisme


Malaria is often considered a cause of adult sepsis in malaria endemic areas. However, diagnostic limitations can make distinction between malaria and other infections challenging. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the relative contribution of malaria to adult sepsis in south-western Uganda.

Adult patients with sepsis were enrolled at the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital between February and May 2012. Sepsis was defined as infection plus >=2 of the following: axillary temperature >37.5[degree sign]C or <35.5[degree sign]C, heart rate >90 or respiratory rate >20. Severe sepsis was defined as sepsis plus organ dysfunction (blood lactate >4 mmol/L, confusion, or a systolic blood pressure <90 mmHg). Sociodemographic, clinical and laboratory data, including malaria PCR and rapid diagnostic tests, as well as acid fast bacteria sputum smears and blood cultures were collected. Patients were followed until in-patient death or discharge. The primary outcome of interest was the cause of sepsis. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess predictors of mortality.

Enrollment included 216 participants who were 51% female with a median age of 32 years (IQR 27--43 years). Of these, 122 (56%) subjects were HIV-seropositive of whom 75 (66%) had a CD4+ T cell count <100 cells/muL. The prevalence of malaria was 4% (six with Plasmodium falciparum, two with Plasmodium vivax). Bacteraemia was identified in 41 (19%) patients. In-hospital mortality was 19% (n = 42). In multivariable regression analysis, Glasgow Coma Score <9 (IRR 4.81, 95% CI 1.80-12.8) and severe sepsis (IRR, 2.07, 95% CI 1.03-4.14), but no specific diagnoses were statistically associated with in-hospital mortality.

Malaria was an uncommon cause of adult sepsis in a regional referral hospital in south-western Uganda. In this setting, a thorough evaluation for alternate causes of disease in patients presenting with sepsis is recommended.