Malaria in Turkey: A review of 33 cases
Aim: To evaluate epidemiologic and clinical features of the patients with malaria followed in our clinic, and to review current status of malaria in our country. Patients and methods: Epidemiologic, clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic features of 33 patients with malaria (4 female, 29 male, mean age: 28 ± 11 years, range: 15–60) followed in our clinic between 1981 and 2000 were evaluated retrospectively. Malaria data of our country for 1926–2000 were obtained from Health Ministry. Results: Diagnosis was established by thin smears of blood preparations obtained in the febrile period in all cases. Plasmodium vivax was detected in 26 patients (25 domestic and one imported), and P. falciparum in seven (two domestic and five imported). Sixty-one percent of the patients had the prodromal symptoms of the disease and used various antibiotics. All cases demonstrated the typical pattern of fever with chills. Fever (100%), splenomegaly (91%), hepatomegaly (55%), anemia (70%), leukopenia (48%), thrombocytopenia (48%), a rise in sedimentation rate (100%), and abnormalities in hepatic enzymes (30%) were determined in the patients. Chloroquine+primaquine were given to all patients with P. vivax, chloroquin (for three) or mefloquin (for four) alone were given to the patients with P. falciparum. One patient with P. falciparum died soon after admission, all the remaining recovered. Data from Health Ministry revealed that the most common (∼100%) species in our country is P. vivax. Although an eradication program against malaria initiated in 1926 achieved success, it still remains as an important health problem. Conclusion: Every febrile patient with a history of travel to the regions where malaria is endemic (tropical regions for the world, southeast regions for our country) should raise the suspicion of malaria. Every country should fight against malaria and global cooperation is essential.