Parasitaemia and gametocytaemia after treatment with chloroquine, pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine, and pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine combined with artesunate in young Gambians with uncomplicated malaria
As part of a study to assess the infectivity of gametocytes after treatment with four antimalarial regimens, the efficacy of each treatment was also determined. From September to December 1998, 598 children with uncomplicated malaria were treated; 135 received chloroquine (CQ) alone, 276 received pyrimethamine/sulfadoxine (Fansidar©, PSD) alone, 113 received PSD with a single dose of artesunate (PSD + 1ART) and 74 received PSD combined with three doses of artesunate (PSD + 3ART). On day 28 19/63 (30.2%; 95% C.I. 19.2% to 43.1%) of children treated with CQ alone, 5/134 (3.7%; 95% C.I. 1.2% to 8.5%) treated with PSD alone, 1/71 (1.4%, 95% C.I. 0.0% to 7.9%) treated with PSD + 1ART and 0/45 (0.0%; 95% C.I. 0.0% to 7.9%) treated with PSD + 3ART were parasitaemic. The proportion of children with gametocytes on day 7 after treatment with CQ alone was 16/89 (18.0%; 95% C.I. 10.6% to 27.6%), 98/174 (56.3%; 95% C.I. 48.6% to 63.8%) after treatment with PSD alone, 8/70 (11.4%; 95% C.I. 5.1% to 21.3%) after treatment with PSD + 1ART and 4/46 (8.7%; 95% C.I., 2.4% to 20.8%) after treatment with PSD + 3ART. CQ thus has a lower efficacy than PSD or either of the PSD and artesunate combinations. Use of PSD alone as an alternative first line treatment results in a very high post-treatment gametocyte prevalence that is likely to enhance transmission. There would be greater and more sustainable benefits from using PSD and artesunate combinations.