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BMJ. 1988 Aug 6;297(6645):401-3.

Comparison of mosquito nets, proguanil hydrochloride, and placebo to prevent malaria.

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  • 1Clinical Department, African Medical Research Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya.


One hundred and ninety students aged 6 to 18 at a boarding school 120 km west of Nairobi in the Rift Valley participated in a comparative trial of malaria prophylaxis. Treatment with a combination of amodiaquine 25 mg/kg over three days plus doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for five days cleared their blood of Plasmodium falciparum. They were then randomly divided into the following three groups matched for age and sex: one group slept under mosquito nets; one group received one or two tablets (100 mg each) of proguanil hydrochloride daily according to weight; one group received one or two placebo tablets daily which were the same size and colour as the proguanil tablets. Malaria was diagnosed when asexual P falciparum were seen on blood films and was treated with pyrimethamine-sulphadoxine. At the end of one school term 188 of the 190 students had completed the study. One new infection was found during 3893 days of follow up in the mosquito net group, eight new infections over 3667 days in the proguanil group, and 35 new infections over 3677 days in the placebo group, representing a reduction of 97.3% and 77.1% in attack rates for the mosquito net method and for treatment with proguanil respectively. Both provide effective protection from malaria.

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