Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) Associated with Plasmodium vivax Infection: Case Report and Review of the Literature.

Research paper by Pil Soo PS Sung, In Ho IH Kim, Jae Ho JH Lee, Jong Won JW Park

Indexed on: 17 Jan '12Published on: 17 Jan '12Published in: Chonnam medical journal


Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is an unusual syndrome characterized by fever, hepatosplenomegaly, cytopenias, hypertriglyceridemia, hypofibrinogenemia, and pathologic findings of hemophagocytosis in the bone marrow and other tissues. HLH may be familial or associated with different types of infections, autoimmune disorders, or malignancies. Infection-associated HLH has been reported in various viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, and case reports of parasitic infections implicated in HLH include rare cases from Plasmodium vivax infection, which occasionally affects both military personnel and civilians in Korea. We describe an unusual case of HLH resulting from Plasmodium vivax infection and review the literature. This case suggests that clinical suspicion of HLH is important when P. vivax infection is accompanied by cytopenias. Administration of antimalarial drugs may prevent irreversible end organ damage resulting from P. vivax-associated HLH.