IV Artesunate for Imported Severe Malaria in Children Treated in 4 Tertiary Care Centers in Germany

01 Nov 2019
Bélard S, Brand J, Schulze-Sturm U, Janda A, von Both U, Tacoli C, Alberer M, Kempf C, Stegemann MS, Krüger R, Varnholt V, Blohm M, Reiter K, Zoller T, Suttorp N, Mall M, von Bernuth H, Gratopp A, Hübner J, Hufnagel M, Kobbe R, Kurth F


Intravenous artesunate (ivA) is the standard treatment for severe malaria. Data systematically evaluating the use of ivA in pediatric patients outside malaria-endemic regions are limited. The aim of this case series was to summarize efficacy and safety of ivA for imported severe malaria in children in Germany.


Our retrospective case series included pediatric patients with imported severe malaria treated with at least 1 dose of ivA (Artesun, Guilin Pharmaceutical; Shanghai, China) at 4 German tertiary care centers. Severe malaria was defined according to World Health Organization criteria.


Between 2010 and 2018, 14 children with a median [interquartile range (IQR)] age of 6 (1;9.5) years were included. All children were of African descent. All but 2 patients had Plasmodium falciparum malaria; 1 child had P. vivax malaria and 1 child had P. falciparum and P. vivax co-infection. Median (IQR) parasitemia at admission in patients with P. falciparum was 9.5% (3;16.5). Patients were treated with 1-10 [median (IQR) 3 (3;4)] doses ivA. All but one patient received a full course of oral antimalarial treatment. Parasite clearance was achieved within 2-4 days, with the exception of 1 patient with prolonged clearance of peripheral parasitemia. Three patients experienced posttreatment hemolysis but none needed blood transfusion. Otherwise ivA was safe and well tolerated.


ivA was highly efficacious in this pediatric cohort. We observed episodes of mild to moderate posttreatment hemolysis in approximately one-third of patients. The legal status and usage of potentially lifesaving ivA should be evaluated in Europe.