The burden of the neurocognitive impairment associated with Plasmodium falciparum malaria in sub-saharan Africa

Mung'Ala-Odera V, Snow RW, Newton CR
Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2004;71

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The burden of Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been estimated traditionally in terms of infections and mortality. Neurocognitive sequelae have recently been identified that add to the burden caused by this parasite. We have attempted to provide estimates of the neurocognitive burden based upon more recent estimates of the population at risk and a detailed review of published studies in sub-Saharan Africa. There is little data on which to estimate the burden, and considerable limitations in extracting the data from the published studies to provide these estimates. However, we estimate that at least 1,300-7,800 children will have neurologic sequelae following cerebral malaria in stable endemic areas per year. The figure is likely to be considerably higher, since these estimates do not include neurocognitive impairment following non-cerebral malaria in children or adults in stable endemic areas, or populations in low stable or epidemic areas.