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Med Trop (Mars). 2003;63(3):282-6.

[Malaria in military personnel: the case of the Ivory Coast in 2002-2003].

[Article in French]

Author information

  • 1Service de Médecine des Collectivités, l'Institut de Médecine Tropicale du Service de Santé des Armées, Le Pharo, BP 46, 13998 Marseille-Armées.


French troops were sent to the Ivory Coast on September 22, 2002 within the framework of Operation Unicorn in response to the political unrest. From September 22 to October 20, a total of 37 cases of malaria were reported, i.e., 35.7 cases per 1000 man-months. As of October 11, the central headquarters of the Armed Services Health Corps decided to use doxycycline as the exclusive agent for drug prophylaxis in military personnel on duty in the Ivory Coast and to enhance vector control measures. The incidence of malaria decreased to 2 cases per 1000 man-months at the sixth month. A recrudescence of malaria to 15 cases per 1000 man-months was observed with the rainy season in April. During this period one person presenting severe malaria with coma required emergency evacuation to France. In May 2003, several studies were undertaken to determine the factors that caused this recrudescence. These studies included surveys to evaluate awareness concerning malaria and monitor compliance with drug prophylaxis and tolerance of doxycycline, a case-control study to identify factors related to malarious episodes and an entomological study. Awareness of malaria was high with 75% of the 477 respondents stating that malaria could be transmitted by single mosquito bite. The case-control study showed a correlation between occurrence of malarious bouts and non-compliance with drug prophylaxis (p < 10(-5)). The odds-ratio was 3.05 (95% confidence interval, 1.52-6.14) for subjects claiming zero to one incident of non-compliance per week and 7.51 (IC95%, 3.24-17.40) for those claiming more than one incident of non-compliance per week. Tolerance of doxycyline was good since 72% of respondents reported no adverse effects. The main vector was Anopheles gambiae. The number of bites per man per night ranged from 25 to 2 and the number of infected bites ranged from 2 to 3 per week. Treatment was initiated promptly using quinine at a total dose of 25 mg/kg in 3 daily doses for 7 days by the intravenous then oral route. This experience shows that malaria remains a major concern for military forces, that standardization of preventive measures in emergency situations is needed, and that enhanced vector control, verification of compliance with drug prophylaxis and prompt treatment based on the presence of a physician in each emergency outpost is crucial. These recommendation must be applied to all French military personnel in the Ivory Coast.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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