Association Between Oral Antimalarial Medication Administration and Mortality Among Patients with Ebola Virus Disease: A Multisite Cohort Study

Empiric antimalarial treatment is a component of protocol-based management of Ebola virus disease (EVD), yet this approach has limited clinical evidence for patient-centered benefits. This retrospective cohort study evaluated the association between antimalarial treatment and mortality among patients with confirmed EVD. The data was collected from five International Medical Corps operated Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2014 through 2015. The standardized protocol used for patient care included empiric oral treatment with combination artemether and lumefantrine, twice daily for three days; however, only a subset of patients received treatment due to resource variability. The outcome of interest was mortality, comparing patients treated with oral antimalarials within 48-h of admission to those not treated. Analysis was conducted with logistic regression to generate adjusted odds ratios (aORs). Multivariable analyses controlled for ETU country, malaria rapid diagnostic test result, age, EVD cycle threshold value, symptoms of bleeding, diarrhea, dysphagia and dyspnea, and additional standard clinical treatments. Among the 424 cases analyzed, 376 (88.7%) received early oral antimalarials. Across all cases, mortality occurred in 57.5% (244). In comparing unadjusted mortality prevalence, early antimalarial treated cases yielded 55.1% mortality versus 77.1% mortality for those untreated (p = 0.005). Multivariable analysis demonstrated evidence of reduced aOR for mortality with early oral antimalarial treatment versus non-treatment. Early oral antimalarial treatment in an EVD outbreak was associated with reduced mortality. Further study is warranted to investigate this association between early oral antimalarial treatment and mortality in EVD patients.

Start Date:2017

End Date:2021

Partners: Brown University

Donors: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Publications: BMC Infectious Diseases