C-reactive protein (CRP) is useful as marker of severity in malaria. African studies have shown that serum CRP levels correlate with parasite burden and complications in malaria, especially falciparum. However, there are very few data on CRP levels in Indian malaria patients.
We assessed CRP levels in malaria patients at presentation and studied for any relation of CRP levels with subsequent prognosis. Statistical tests included student's t-test, Mann Whitney U test, and chi square test, all with 2-tailed analyzes.
Of 71 patients in our study, 42 (59.1%) were infected with P. falciparum. 23 (32.4%) patients needed admission and 10 (14.1%) died. Average CRP levels were quite high in malaria patients (31.29 ± 20.4 mg/L). There was no significant difference in CRP between vivax and falciparum cases. Admitted patients had significantly higher CRP levels compared to those treated on outdoor basis (47.11 ± 19.13 vs. 23.71 ± 16.35 mg/L; P < 0.0001). 8 patients were admitted with multiple complications. They had significantly high CRP level compared to those with 1 complication ( P = 0.015). Also, patients who died had higher CRP levels compared to survivors ( P = 0.000346). CRP levels at presentation showed positive correlation with duration of hospital stay ( r = 0.59; P < 0.05). CRP levels >35 mg/L was highly sensitive in predicting mortality.