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Open Access Open Badges Research

Imported malaria in an area in southern Madrid, 2005-2008

Sonia Rey1, Inés Zuza2, Belén Martínez-Mondéjar2, José M Rubio3 and Francisco J Merino1*

Author Affiliations

1 Microbiology and Parasitology Department. Severo Ochoa University Hospital, Avda Orellana s/n, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain

2 Preventive Medicine Department. Severo Ochoa University Hospital, Avda Orellana s/n, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain

3 Malaria & Emerging Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, Parasitology Department, National Centre of Microbiology. Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Cra. Majadahonda Pozuelo Km.2, Majadahonda, 28220 Madrid, Spain

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Malaria Journal 2010, 9:290  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-290

Published: 20 October 2010



In Spain, malaria cases are mostly due to migrants and travellers returning from endemic areas. The objective of this work was to describe the malaria cases diagnosed at the Severo Ochoa University Hospital (HUSO) in Leganés in the south of the Madrid Region from 2005 to 2008.


Descriptive retrospective study performed at HUSO. Data sources are registries from the Microbiology Department and malaria cases notified to the Preventive Medicine Department. Analysed parameters were: administrative, demographical, related to the stay at the endemic country, clinical, microbiological diagnosis method, pregnancy, treatment and prophylaxis, co-infections, and days of hospital stay.


Fifty-seven patients diagnosed with malaria were studied. Case distribution per year was 13 in 2005, 15 in 2006, 15 in 2007 and 14 in 2008. Thirty-three patients were female (57.9%) and 24 male (42.1%). Mean age was 27.8 years. Most of the malaria cases were acquired in Nigeria (49.1%) and Equatorial Guinea (32.7%). 29.1% of the patients were immigrants who had arrived recently, and 61.8% acquired malaria when travelling to their countries of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFR). Majority of cases were diagnosed between June and September. Microscopy was positive in 39 cases (68.4%) immunochromatography in 42 (73.7%) and PCR in the 55 cases where performed. Plasmodium falciparum was responsible for 94.7% of the cases. The more frequent symptoms were fever (77.2%), followed by headache and gastrointestinal symptoms (33.3%). Nine cases needed hospital admittance, a pregnant woman, three children, four VFR and an African tourist, but all evolved favourably. Chemoprophylaxis data was known from 55 patients. It was taken correctly in one case (1.8%), in five (9.1%) the prophylaxis was improper while the others 49 (89.1%) cases had not followed any anti-malarial prophylaxis.


Children, pregnant women and the VFR have the highest risk to present severe malaria and to need hospital admittance. Another important risk factor for acquiring malaria is incorrect prophylaxis. The first place for malaria acquisition was Nigeria and the main species causing malaria was P. falciparum.