Children and Malaria: Reducing the Risk - Topic Overview
Children who live in areas where malaria is present
Malaria causes the death of thousands of children in
certain areas of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Young children are
especially susceptible because they have not yet developed any immunity to
malaria, which develops through repeated infections. The World Health
Organization (WHO) is working to reduce the number of deaths. WHO encourages
parents to seek prompt care and treatment, treat other health conditions, and
use mosquito-proof bed nets.
Children who travel to areas where malaria is present
If you intend to travel to an area where malaria is present, try to
prepare for your trip at least 6 weeks in advance. Learn about the prevention
and treatment of malaria in children. The most current information about your
travel destination and the risk of malaria is available from:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Your local health department.
- A travel clinic
(which can be located through the International Society of Travel Medicine's
website at www.istm.org).
- Your doctor.
It is important to review this information, have your
child's immunizations up-to-date, and get any other shots required for your
destination. Children are sometimes given the same antimalarial medicines as
those given to adults to prevent malaria. The amount of medicine given to a
child is based on the child's weight. Overdosage of antimalarial medicines can be fatal. Keep medicines in childproof
containers out of reach of children, and give dosages exactly on
Some health conditions may prevent a child from taking
certain medicines, and a less effective medicine may be prescribed instead.
If your child is unable to take a highly effective medicine such as
mefloquine or doxycycline, it may be best to avoid travel in
chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum
Also, certain insect repellents may not be safe for
children. Some studies have shown negative reactions in children who use large
amounts of the insect repellent DEET.1