June is Anti Malaria Month

Malaria Prevention, Treatment, and Control Strategies


Malaria is a difficult disease to control largely due to the highly adaptable nature of the vector and parasites involved. While effective tools have been and will continue to be developed to combat malaria, inevitably, over time the parasites and mosquitoes will evolve means to circumvent those tools if used in isolation or used ineffectively. To achieve sustainable control over malaria, healthcare professionals will need a combination of new approaches and tools, and research will play a critical role in the development of those next-generation strategies.



Prevention measures

Prevention of malaria is currently based on two complementary methods: chemoprophylaxis and protection against mosquito bites. While several malaria vaccines are under development, none is available yet.


Diagnostics

New and improved diagnostics are essential for the effective control of malaria. Currently, the most reliable technique for diagnosing malaria is, as it was throughout the last century, labor-intensive, relying on highly trained technicians using microscopes to analyze blood smears. Such microscopic analysis is time-consuming, variable in quality, difficult to use in resource-poor field settings, and cannot detect drug resistance.


Symptoms

Malaria is a disease that typically features a fever, chills, and headaches. It can progress to cause severe or life-threatening complications. How it affects people can vary widely. Some people have mild or no symptoms, but others can become severely ill. Physicians divide malaria symptoms into two categories Trusted Source: uncomplicated or severe malaria.


Treatment

With early treatment, most people with malaria will make a full recovery. Treatment for individuals with the disease includes:ā


  • medication to eliminate the parasite from the bloodstream

  • supportive care

  • hospitalization for those with severe symptoms

  • intensive care, in some cases

The main antimalarial drugs are:

  • chloroquine

  • hydroxychloroquine

  • primaquine

  • artemisinin-based therapy

  • atovaquone-proguanil



Drug Development

Antimalarial drugs, in combination with mosquito control programs, have historically played a key role in controlling malaria in endemic areas, resulting in a significant reduction in the geographic range of malarial disease worldwide. Over the years, however, the emergence and spread of drug-resistant parasites has contributed to a reemergence of malaria, turning back the clock on control efforts. The need for new, effective drugs for malaria has become a critical priority on the global malaria research agenda.

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