Infectious Disease

Report details six cases of nosocomial malaria in French hospitals

November 17, 2022

1 min read

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The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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Six cases of nosocomial malaria that occurred in French hospitals may be attributed to a failure to adhere to precautionary measures, researchers wrote in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“The Anopheles mosquito vector is not always necessary for transmission of the malaria parasite. Accidental inoculation of the skin with blood from a malaria patient, although a very rare event, was sporadically reported in the literature,” Romain Coppée, PhD, a researcher at Paris Cité University and Sorbonne Paris Nord University, told Healio. “This study serves as a reminder of the need for strict adherence to universal precautions in health care facilities.”

Anopheles_gambiae_PRINT

Anopheles mosquitoes are not always necessary for transmission of the malaria parasite, Romain Coppée, PhD, told Healio. Source: Adobe Stock

The six cases of nosocomial malaria identified by Coppée and colleagues occurred in French hospitals between 2007 and 2021 — including four during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whole-genome sequencing conducted by the researchers revealed that each pair of source/nosocomial infection was related. After diagnosis, patients were treated with antimalarials and all except one recovered.

Coppee told Healio that although these transmissions “are not fully understood,” the researchers hypothesized that they may be caused by an improper use of blood glucometers, multidose heparin vials, covered catheters, reused saline flush syringes containing invisible traces of infected blood, successive infusions by the same caregiver or even sharing contaminated multiple-use infusion sets.

Coppee noted, however, that investigating contaminated materials is often difficult because they are either thrown away or washed for reuse.

“We want to remind of the need for strict adherence to universal precautions in health care facilities,” Coppée said. “A decrease in attention to such gestures can have disastrous consequences for the health of patients, including death.”

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