Malaria and HIV among pediatric inpatients in two Tanzanian referral hospitals: A prospective study.


Malaria remains common in sub-Saharan Africa, but it is frequently over-diagnosed and over-treated in hospitalized children. HIV is prevalent in many malaria endemic areas and may delay parasite clearance and increase mortality among children with malaria. This prospective cohort study enrolled children with suspected malaria between 3 months and 12 years of age hospitalized at two referral hospitals in Tanzania. Both a thick blood smear (BS) and a malaria rapid diagnostic test (mRDT) were performed. If discordant results were obtained, PCR was performed for Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria was confirmed if two out of three tests were positive. Malaria parasite densities were determined for two consecutive days after diagnosis and treatment of malaria. All participants were tested for HIV. Among 1492 hospitalized children, 400 (26.8%) were enrolled with suspected malaria infection. There were 196/400 (49.0%) males, and the median age was 18 [9-36] months. BS was positive in 95/400 (23.8%), and mRDT was positive in 70/400 (17.5%), with moderate agreement (Kappa=0.598). Concordant results excluded malaria in 291/400 (72.8%) and confirmed malaria in 56/400 (14.0%). PCR performed on 53 discordant results confirmed malaria in 1/39 of the BS-positive/mRDT-negative cases, and 6/14 of the BS-negative/mRDT-positive cases. The prevalence of confirmed malaria was 63/400 (15.8%). In multivariable logistic regression, malaria was associated with HIV (OR 3.45 [1.65-7.20], p=0.001). Current breastfeeding (OR 0.25 [0.11-0.56], p=0.001) and higher hemoglobin (OR 0.70 [0.60-0.81], p