A treatment method known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention could decrease death rates by tens of thousands, according to recently published study findings.
Matthew Cairns, BSc, MSc, PhD, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues used satellite maps that indicated rainfall and information on malaria disease burden to select where seasonal malaria chemoprevention would be cost-effective and beneficial. The treatment involved assigning a combination of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine (Camoquin, Parke-Davis) once monthly to young children during the rainy season. This treatment is similar to that given to travelers in regions where malaria is endemic. Cairns and colleagues said this method has prevented 80% of severe and uncomplicated cases of malaria in areas where malaria is only a problem seasonally.
“We have identified two large areas of Africa where monthly seasonal chemoprevention could be an effective addition to existing approaches that reduce exposure to mosquitoes. If this control measure could be deployed widely, it could prevent many millions of cases of malaria and tens of thousands of deaths every year,” Cairns said in a statement about the study.
The researchers said this is a treatment method that can be used immediately in many areas, including Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
WHO now formally recommends seasonal malaria chemoprevention in the Sahel and sub-Sahel regions of Africa; countries in West Africa are likely to follow this year.
The researchers report no relevant conflicts of interest.