A team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, working in partnership with colleagues from Senegal, has found that intermittent preventive malaria treatment of children under five has a dramatic impact on malaria frequency.
In a randomised, placebo-controlled trial, 1,136 children aged between two months and five years received either intermittent preventive treatment, consisting of one dose of artesunate plus one dose of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, or two placebos. The preventative treatments were carried out on three occasions during the malaria transmission season, in a health-care centre in Niakhar, a rural area of Senegal.
During thirteen weeks of follow up, the intervention led to an 86% reduction in the frequency of clinical episodes of malaria. The incidence of malaria in children with active drugs was 308 episodes per 1,000 person-years at risk, whereas in controls it was 2,250 episodes per 1,000 person-years at risk. The preventative treatment was safe and did not result in children who had received it experiencing more malaria episodes the following year.
Lindsay Wright | alfa
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