Concurrent malaria and enteric fever in Pakistan

Document Type



Internal Medicine


Introduction : The precise incidence of concurrent malaria and enteric fever in most geographical areas is largely unknown, and no data on such an association exists in Asia. Because both malaria and enteric fever are hyperendemic in Pakistan, we sought to determine the frequency, epidemiology, and clinical and laboratory features of dual malaria and enteric fever in a tertiary care setting.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case-control study of 1,891 patients hospitalised with malaria over a ten-year period and identified 21 patients with concurrent culture-proven enteric fever.

Results: Cases with dual infection had significantly more gastrointestinal symptoms at the time of admission, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhoea compared to matched control subjects with uncomplicated malaria (p-value is less than 0.006). Cases were more likely to have a continuous rather than intermittent fever (p-value is less than 0.0001), delayed defervescence in response to antimalarial treatment (p-value is less than 0.006), normal or low white blood cell counts (p-value is less than 0.04), relatively higher platelet counts among cases versus control (p-value is less than 0.05) and serum haemoglobin (p-value is less than 0.06), elevated alanine aminotransferase levels (p-value is less than 0.02), and a prolonged hospital stay (p-value is less than 0.03). The negative predictive values for gastrointestinal symptoms, continuous fever pattern and delayed defervescence were 80 percent, 72 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

Conclusion: Patients with malaria who have marked gastrointestinal symptoms, continuous pattern of fever and persistence of fever for more than 24 hours after appropriate antimalarial therapy, should be investigated or empirically treated for concurrent enteric fever. The absence of the above clinical features in patients with uncomplicated malaria should reassure physicians that there is no concurrent typhoid fever.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Singapore medical journal.