While imported falciparum malaria has been increasingly reported in recent years in Korea, clinicians have difficulties in making a clinical diagnosis as well as in having accessibility to effective anti-malarial agents. Here we describe an unusual case of imported falciparum malaria with severe hemolytic anemia lasting over 2 weeks, clinically mimicking a coinfection with babesiosis. A 48-year old Korean man was diagnosed with severe falciparum malaria in France after traveling to the Republic of Benin, West Africa. He received a 1-day course of intravenous artesunate and a 7-day course of Malarone (atovaquone/proguanil) with supportive hemodialysis. Coming back to Korea 5 days after discharge, he was readmitted due to recurrent fever, and further treated with Malarone for 3 days. Both the peripheral blood smears and PCR test were positive for Plasmodium falciparum. However, he had prolonged severe hemolytic anemia (Hb 5.6 g/dl). Therefore, 10 days after the hospitalization, Babesia was considered to be potentially coinfected. A 7-day course of Malarone and azithromycin was empirically started. He became afebrile within 3 days of this babesiosis treatment, and hemolytic anemia profiles began to improve at the completion of the treatment. He has remained stable since his discharge. Unexpectedly, the PCR assays failed to detect DNA of Babesia spp. from blood. In addition, during the retrospective review of the case, the artesunate-induced delayed hemolytic anemia was considered as an alternative cause of the unexplained hemolytic anemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases