Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) often causes atypical clinical manifestations similar to other infectious diseases. In malaria-endemic areas, the pandemic situation will very likely result in co-infection of COVID-19 and malaria, although reports to date are still few. Meanwhile, this disease will be challenging to diagnose in areas with low malaria prevalence because the symptoms closely resemble COVID-19. Case presentation: A 23-year-old male patient presented to the hospital with fever, anosmia, headache, and nausea 1 week before. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 and treated for approximately 10 days, then discharged to continue self-quarantine at home. 2 weeks later, he returned to the hospital with a fever raised intermittently every 2 days and marked by a chilling-fever-sweating cycle. A laboratory test for malaria and a nasopharyngeal swab for SARS CoV-2 PCR were conducted, confirming both diagnoses. The laboratory examination showed markedly elevated D-dimer. He was treated with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP) 4 tablets per day for 3 days and primaquine 2 tablets per day for 14 days according to Indonesian National Anti-malarial Treatment Guidelines. After 6 days of treatment, the patient had no complaints, and the results of laboratory tests had improved. This report describes the key points in considering the differential diagnosis and prompt treatment of malaria infection during the pandemic of COVID-19 in an endemic country to prevent the worse clinical outcomes. COVID-19 and malaria may also cause a hypercoagulable state, so a co-infection of those diseases may impact the prognosis of the disease. Conclusion: This case report shows that considering the possibility of a co-infection in a COVID-19 patient who presents with fever can prevent delayed treatment that can worsen the disease outcome. Paying more attention to a history of travel to malaria-endemic areas, a history of previous malaria infection, and exploring anamnesis regarding the fever patterns in patients are important points in making a differential diagnosis of malaria infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Infectious diseases
- Plasmodium vivax