Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria and bednets reduce severe malaria cases

Studies carried out in Mali and Burkina Faso and published in the journal PLoS Medicine have found that combining intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in children with insecticide-treated bednets leads to a substantial reduction in severe malaria cases.

A third study was carried out in Gambia both supported the findings and determined how best the treatments could be administered to a rural community, reports.

The IPTc approach to controlling malaria, which involves administering two or three doses of an effective antimalarial drug combination like artesunate and sulphadoxine pyrimethamine or amodiaquine, effectively reduces malaria incidence when given during high malaria transmission season, reports. The studies were conducted in countries where the use of ITNs was low.

The studies found that in Burkina Faso, the IPTc approach in children provided 70 percent protective efficacy and 82 percent protective efficacy in Mali. The studies also found that the IPTc treatment could be administered effectively in a rural community using village-based community volunteers.

"These findings indicate that IPTc is safe and well-tolerated in children, is easy to administer, and has the potential to substantially reduce the incidence of severe and uncomplicated malaria in children who sleep under an ITN in areas where malaria transmission is highly seasonal such as the Sahel and sub-Sahel of Africa, which have a population of approximately 300 million people and a persistently high incidence of malaria," Brian Greenwood, a professor of clinical tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and paper co-author, said, according to "The findings of these studies and of a recent review which suggests that IPTc can reduce can reduce overall child mortality substantially suggests that IPTc now warrants serious consideration as a valuable component of a combined malaria control strategy in areas where malaria transmission is seasonal."