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Lancet. 1993 Jan 9;341(8837):96-100.

Vivax malaria resistant to treatment and prophylaxis with chloroquine.

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US Naval Medical Research Unit No 2, Jakarta, Indonesia.


Chloroquine has been the treatment of choice for vivax malaria for more than 40 years. Lately, several case-reports have suggested the emergence of resistance to chloroquine in Plasmodium vivax in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. We undertook prospective treatment and prophylaxis trials of chloroquine in children and adults with vivax malaria living in Irian Jaya (Indonesia New Guinea). 46 villagers with P vivax parasitaemia were treated with chloroquine by mouth (25 mg base/kg body weight divided over 3 days) and followed up for 14 days. Parasitaemia cleared initially but recurred within 14 days in 10 (22%) subjects. All recurrences were in children younger than 11 years, 7 of whom were younger than 4 years; the failure rate among children under 4 was 70%. 7 of the patients with recurrences were given a second course of chloroquine. In all, the infections initially cleared but recurrent parasitaemia developed in 5 (71%) within 14 days. Whole-blood chloroquine concentrations were consistently above those previously shown to cure P vivax blood infections (90 micrograms/L whole blood). Subjects whose initial infections cleared and who had no parasitaemia on day 14 received weekly prophylaxis with chloroquine. Despite the presence of expected blood chloroquine concentrations, P vivax parasitaemia developed in 9 of 17 subjects receiving prophylaxis during 8 weeks of follow-up (median time to parasitaemia 5.3 weeks). Chloroquine can no longer be relied upon for effective treatment or chemoprophylaxis of P vivax blood infections acquired in this part of New Guinea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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