Study shows decrease in malaria deaths with pretreatment

An ongoing study is revealing that the wide distribution of anti-malaria drugs to healthy children can significantly reduce the number of new infections from the mosquito-borne illness.

The non-profit medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders recently reported that it has given periodic doses of anti-malarials to 175,000 children in Chad and Mali and has seen a significant drop in the number of reported malaria cases there, according to VOANews.com.

DWB said that initial estimates show a 67 percent decrease in the number of simple malaria cases in the region of Mali were the study was undertaken. There has also been an 86 percent drop in the number of cases in Chad.

The organization added that the number of severe malaria cases has also dropped.

The study, which was launched in July, will continue for another month, a period when transmission rates are generally high.

For the duration of the study, children between three months and five years of age are given a dose of amodiaquine and one of sulphadoxine or pryrimethamine over a three day period every month, VOANews.com reports.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. The World Health Organization estimates that there were approximately 216 million cases of malaria in 2010, causing 655,000 deaths. Most of the deaths occurred among children living in Africa.