PUNE: A four-year-old child testing positive for dengue and at a city hospital last week has health authorities as well as doctors surprised.

Dengue-malaria co-infection is rarer among children, experts said, adding that it may perhaps be the first such case in the city.

“Usually the biggest monsoon fear is catching dengue or malaria or . However, the child’s case shows that one can catch more than one infection at a time. Cases of concurrent infections are rare and they make treatment very difficult,” paediatrician Jitendra Oswal of Bharati hospital, who detected the co-infection in the child, told TOI.

The child, a resident of Narhe-Ambegaon, was initially down with . He had a history of rash, which subsided in a day.

He was admitted to Bharati hospital on August 8.

“The child’s medical examination revealed abnormal enlargement of spleen medically termed as , classically seen in malaria patients,” Oswal said, adding that the child also had alternate day fever with chills, which is typical of malaria.

“So, we carried out malaria tests on him and his blood smear tested positive for vivax strain of malaria. A dengue antibody test carried on the child earlier also tested positive for dengue antibody (IgM),” he said.

However, the child’s dengue infection was mild in nature. “Therefore, we didn’t have to aggressively treat it. We only administered symptomatic treatment for dengue. For malaria, we treated him with oral antimalarial drug , to which he responded very well. He was discharged on August 11,” Oswal said.

Such cases of coinfection pose a challenge for medical diagnosis because of overlapping clinical symptoms, the experts said, while highlighting the importance of educating doctors about the increasing risk of concurrent infections for timely diagnosis.

“There is a greater need to increase awareness of concurrent vector-borne infections among doctors,” paediatrician Sharad Agarkhedkar said.

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