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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1986 Apr;80(2):155-67.

Monthly antimalarial chemotherapy to children in a holoendemic area of Liberia.


Two hundred and eighty-two children, two to nine years old, were included in a prospective three-year study in four villages with holoendemic malaria. In three villages the children received monthly doses of either chloroquine, pyrimethamine or chlorproguanil respectively for two years. In the fourth, vitamin tablets were used as placebo. Presumptive treatment with chloroquine (10 mg base kg-1) was given to all children with fever of suspected malarial origin. The two-year drug distribution was satisfactorily fulfilled to 168 children. Surveys, including physical and laboratory examinations were performed every six months, four weeks after medication. A fifth village was only visited at the start of the study and after two years. The mean crude parasite rate was initially 92%. Plasmodium falciparum was the main species. Splenomegaly was recorded in all children. In the chloroquine-treated children, the parasite rates varied between 30% and 50% during the study. By the end of the second year the spleen rate was reduced from 100% to 50%. Reported episodes of fever were reduced to half and mean haematocrit levels increased by 6% in comparison with children receiving the placebo. Total IgG concentrations were reduced from 36.7 g l-1 to 25.9 g l-1, whereas no significant decrease was observed in malarial seropositivity as measured by indirect immunofluorescence. Chlorproguanil had a weaker impact on parasitaemia with parasite rates between 50% and 90%. However, the spleen rate was reduced to 67% and there was a significant reduction of reported fever episodes. Mean haematocrits increased by 4%. Total IgG decreased from 31.8 g l-1 to 23.8 g l-1. In contrast, in the pyrimethamine group, the placebo group and the untreated group from the fifth village, the malariometric indices after two years were comparable to each other and to the initial values. During the third year only presumptive chloroquine treatment was given, and by the end of the study all malariometric indices were again comparable. From clinical observations there was no apparent impairment of protective immunity to malaria from the two years of regular distribution of the drugs. We conclude that a certain degree of malaria control could be achieved in Liberian children by the administration of monthly doses of chloroquine 10 mg base kg-1. The administration of chlorproguanil (1.5 mg kg-1) represents an alternative regimen.

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