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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

RAMAN, J et al. Maintaining focus on administering effective malaria treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2021, vol.111, n.1, pp.13-16. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/samj.2021.v111i1.15337.

As September marks the start of the malaria season in South Africa (SA), it is essential that healthcare professionals consider both COVID-19 and malaria when a patient who lives in or has recently travelled to a malaria area presents with acute febrile illness. Early diagnosis of malaria by either a rapid diagnostic test or microscopy enables prompt treatment with the effective antimalarial, artemether-lumefantrine, preventing progression to severe disease and death. Intravenous artesunate is the preferred treatment for severe malaria in both children and adults. Adding single low-dose primaquine to standard treatment is recommended in endemic areas to block onward transmission. Use of the highly effective artemisinin-based therapies should be limited to the treatment of confirmed malaria infections, as there is no clinical evidence that these antimalarials can prevent or treat COVID-19. Routine malaria case management services must be sustained, in spite of COVID-19, to treat malaria effectively and support SA's malaria elimination efforts.

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