Presumptive Treatment to Reduce Imported Malaria among Refugees from East Africa Resettling in the United States

Author/s: Christina Phares, Bryan Kapella, Annelise Doney, Paul Arguin, Michael Green, Leul Mekonnen, Aleksander Galev, Michelle Weinberg, William Stauffer
Language: English
Publication Type: Scientific Report (Journal)(External)

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Abstract: During May 4, 2007–February 29, 2008, the United States resettled 6,159 refugees from Tanzania. Refugees received pre-departure antimalarial treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), partially supervised (three/six doses) artemether-lumefantrine (AL), or fully supervised AL. Thirty-nine malaria cases were detected. Disease incidence was 15.5/1,000 in the SP group and 3.2/1,000 in the partially supervised AL group (relative change = –79%, 95% confidence interval = –56% to –90%). Incidence was 1.3/1,000 refugees in the fully supervised AL group (relative change = –92% compared with SP group; 95% confidence interval = –66% to –98%). Among 39 cases, 28 (72%) were in refugees < 15 years of age. Time between arrival and symptom onset (median = 14 days, range = 3–46 days) did not differ by group. Thirty-two (82%) persons were hospitalized, 4 (10%) had severe manifestations, and 9 (27%) had parasitemias > 5% (range = < 0.1–18%). Pre-departure presumptive treatment with an effective drug is associated with decreased disease among refugees.

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene