Health Blogs

Prevention of Malaria

Prevention is better than cure and for a disease that has grip the hinterlands and the urban areas of India – Malaria – it definitely stands true. Malaria at present has no vaccination and only cleanliness, hygiene along with certain self precautions is the tool to prevent malaria.

Prevent Malaria

How to medically prevent Malaria?

  • Clinical attacks of malaria may be preventable with chemoprophylaxis using chloroquine, atovaquone plus proguanil (Malarone), doxycycline or mefloquine. Recommended dose for protection of the non-immune.
  • The risk of malaria in the area to be visited and the degree of chloroquine resistance guide the recommendations for prophylaxis.
  • Fansidar should not be used for chemopropylaxis, as deaths have occurred from agranulocytosis or Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Mefloquine is useful in areas of multiple drug resistance, such as East and Central Africa and Papua New Guinea. Experience shows it to be safe for at least 2 years, but there are several contraindication to its use.
  • Expert advice is required for individuals unable to tolerate the first-line agents listed or in whom they are contraindicated. Mefloquine should be started 2-3 weeks before travel to give time for assessment of side effect. Chloroquine should not be taken continuously as a prophylactic for more than 5 years without regular ophthalmic examination, as it may cause irreversible retinopathy.
  • Pregnant and lactating women may take proguanil or chloroquine safely.
  • Prevention also involves advice about the use of high-percentage diethyltoluamide(DEET), covering up extremities when out after dark, and sleeping under permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets.

Malaria control in endemic areas

There are major initiatives under way to reduce malaria in endemic areas and it is estimated that these would be cost-effective, even at a cost of $3 billion per year. Successful programs have involved a combination of vector control, including indoor residual spraying, use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) and intermittent preventative therapy (IPT ; repeated dose of prophylactic drugs in high-risk groups, such as children and pregnant women)

Development of a fully protective malaria vaccine is still some way off, which is not surprising, considering that natural immunity is incomplete and not long-lived. There is, however, some evidence that vaccination can reduce the incidence of severe malaria in populations. Trial vaccines are being evaluated in Africa.