EID Journal Home > Volume 17, Number 7–July 2011
Timothy William, et al. -
The simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi causes severe human malaria; the optimal treatment remains unknown. We describe the clinical features, disease spectrum, and response to antimalarial chemotherapy, including artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate, in patients with P. knowlesi malaria diagnosed by PCR during December 2007–November 2009 at a tertiary care hospital in Sabah, Malaysia. Fifty-six patients had PCR-confirmed P. knowlesi monoinfection and clinical records available for review. Twenty-two (39%) had severe malaria; of these, 6 (27%) died. Thirteen (59%) had respiratory distress; 12 (55%), acute renal failure; and 12, shock. None experienced coma. Patients with uncomplicated disease received chloroquine, quinine, or artemether-lumefantrine, and those with severe disease received intravenous quinine or artesunate. Parasite clearance times were 1–2 days shorter with either artemether-lumefantrine or artesunate treatment. P. knowlesi is a major cause of severe and fatal malaria in Sabah. Artemisinin derivatives rapidly clear parasitemia and are efficacious in treating uncomplicated and severe knowlesi malaria.