Blackwater Fever in Ugandan Children With Severe Anemia is Associated With Poor Postdischarge Outcomes: A Prospective Cohort Study

Robert Opoka, Ali Waiswa, Nambuya Harriet, Chandy C. John, James K. Tumwine, Charles Karamagi

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Blackwater fever (BWF), one of the complications of severe malaria, has recently re-emerged as a cause of severe anemia (SA) in African children. However, postdischarge morbidity in children with BWF has previously not been described.


This was a descriptive cohort study in which children, aged 0–5 years, admitted to Jinja Regional Referral Hospital with acute episodes of SA (hemoglobin ≤5.0 g/dL) were followed up for 6 months after hospitalization. Incidence of readmissions or deaths during the follow-up period was compared between SA children with BWF and those without BWF.


A total of 279 children with SA including those with BWF (n = 92) and no BWF (n = 187) were followed for the du- ration of the study. Overall, 128 (45.9%) of the study participants were readmitted at least once while 22 (7.9%) died during the follow-up period. After adjusting for age, sex, nutritional status, and parasitemia, SA children with BWF had higher risk of readmis- sions (hazard ratio [HR], 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–2.5) and a greater risk of death (HR. 3.37; 95% CI, 1.3–8.5) com- pared with those without BWF. Malaria and recurrence of SA were the most common reasons for readmissions.


There is a high rate of readmissions and deaths in the immediate 6 months after initial hospitalization among SA children in the Jinja hospital. SA children with BWF had increased risk of readmissions and deaths in the postdischarge period. Postdischarge malaria chemoprophylaxis should be considered for SA children living in malaria endemic areas.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPaediatrics and Child Health, East Africa
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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