What is malaria prophylaxis?

By  , Expert Content
Jan 18, 2013

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Currently there is no vaccine for protection against malaria despite intensive research for decades. Hence an alternative method that can provide fairly reliable protection against malaria is needed. Malaria prophylaxis is considered as a good option for protection against malaria. Read to know more on malaria prophylaxis.

  • Some anti-malarial drugs can be given to prevent the development of malaria. This method for prevention of malaria is known as chemoprophylaxis. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for people travelling from non-malarious area to a malarious area as these people can suffer from severe attacks of malaria. The risk of malaria infections depends on several factors such as the region visited, the length of stay, time of visit, type of activity, protection against mosquito bites, and compliance with chemoprophylaxis among other things.
  • Remember medications for malaria prophylaxis do not provide 100% protection. Hence travellers to malaria endemic areas should take measures to prevent mosquito bites as well in addition to good compliance with chemoprophylaxis. The possibility of malaria in a traveller (from an area where malaria is rare) to an endemic area should be considered if a febrile illness develops within a week of entering a malarious area to within the first 3 months of return (maximum for an year after visiting such an area).

Consult your doctor for chemoprophylaxis against malaria. Your doctor will recommend chemo-prophylactic medication based on the species and drug resistance prevalent in a country. The medicine given to prevent malaria is based on:

  • The region you are going.
  • The resistance of malaria parasites to certain medicines in that area.
  • Your age, health status, whether you are pregnant, immunity and resistance to malaria, and any known drug allergies.

The medicines used for preventive treatment of malaria (or malaria prophylaxis) are:

  • Chloroquine.
  • Mefloquine.
  • Doxycycline.
  • Primaquine.
  • Atovaquone and proguanil combination.

For people traveling from an area where malaria is rare to an endemic area (region where malaria is common) it is important to consider taking malaria prophylaxis. The medication should be started before travel, taken during the stay and after returning from the place to reduce the risk of infection. Your doctor can advise you regarding the medication, the dose and time it needs to be taken before and after travel.

it is important to note that malaria prophylaxis is not recommended for people or residents of a malarious area and it is not prescribed as a remedy to prevent re-infections as well.


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