Polymicrobial Infection in an Immigrant Female at the United States-Mexico Border

Abstract Malaria is a highly infectious disease transmitted through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito carrying the parasite of the Plasmodium genus; it presents with cyclical fevers, myalgias, and headaches. In the United States, the vast majority of malaria cases are reported in people who travel abroad, mainly to Africa. These cases are predominantly linked to Plasmodium falciparum or ovale and can be medically treated with artemisinin, chloroquine, or atovaquone-proguanil. We discuss a case of a 38-year-old female immigrant from Venezuela living at an immigration facility who presented to a hospital located on the United States-Mexico border with a two-day history of watery diarrhea, headache, and subjective fever. She had experienced mosquito bites and likely contracted the illness in Chiapas, Mexico during her trek from Peru to the United States. Her case was unique as she tested positive for dengue fever antibodies acquired from a previous infection and also contracted rhinovirus during her clinical course. Her diagnosis of malaria was confirmed with a peripheral blood smear that revealed ring forms with no gametocytes. This in tandem with her route of travel suggested infection with Plasmodium vivax. She was treated with chloroquine while the malaria culture was pending and continued to spike fevers every 24-36 hours while on medication. Once the culture was confirmed, she was treated with atovaquone-proguanil as maintenance therapy. She was subsequently discharged on primaquine for 14 days to prevent relapse. Introduction Malaria is a parasitic infection caused by the Anopheles mosquito. The most common symptom of malaria is cyclic fevers that spike every two or three days and correspond to the life cycle of the Anopheles mosquito. Other possible symptoms include headache, malaise, myalgias, arthralgias, diarrhea, and cough. Malaria should be clinically suspected in any patient immigrating from an endemic area who presents with a constellation […]

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By Donato