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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1997 Sep;91(6):591-602.

Chloroquine resistance in Pakistan and the upsurge of falciparum malaria in Pakistani and Afghan refugee populations.

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  • 1National Institute of Malaria Research and Training, Lahore, Pakistan.


Surveys conducted in Pakistan during the last decade show that falciparum malaria has become resistant to chloroquine in Pakistani and Afghan refugee populations throughout the country. Although RI resistance is common everywhere (with a frequency of 30%-84%), RII is rarer (2%-36%), and RIII resistance has yet to be detected. The national policy is to prescribe chloroquine as first-line treatment of malaria. A repeated in-vivo survey in a sentinel village indicated that prescription of chloroquine can lead to a 15% increase in the frequency of resistance in a single year, and similar trends were observed in other districts. Coinciding with the spread of resistance is a 6-fold increase in the number of falciparum cases recorded nationally between 1982 and 1992 and a parallel, 5-fold increase in the number of cases recorded in the Afghan refugee population. Resistance contributes to this trend in various ways. Firstly, patients with resistant malaria make repeated visits to health centres. In the sentinel village, for example, where resistance was measured at 71%, recrudescent infections inflated by 66% the genuine incidence of new infections recorded at the health centre. Secondly, owing to ineffective treatment, resistant infections are often still patent during the post-transmission season. This may enlarge the 'overwintering' parasite reservoir, leading to a surge of new cases when transmission resumes. Other factors potentially contributing to the upsurge in falciparum include the decrease availability of insecticide for indoor spraying. Despite the problems posed by resistance for case management, the evidence from the vector-control programme among the refugees is that malaria control through well-targeted campaigns of insecticide spraying is still able to reduce the incidence of falciparum malaria to a level that existed before the advent of resistance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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