Low efficacy of the combination artesunate plus amodiaquine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria among children under 5 years in Kailahun, Sierra Leone.
AffiliationEpicentre, Paris, France.
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AbstractOBJECTIVE: In 2004, Sierra Leone adopted artesunate plus amodiaquine as first-line antimalarial treatment. We evaluated the efficacy of this combination in Kailahun, where a previous study had shown 70.2% efficacy of amodiaquine in monotherapy. METHODS: Method and outcome classification of the study complied with WHO guidelines. Children 6-59 months with uncomplicated malaria were followed-up for 28 days. PCR genotyping was used to distinguish recrudescence from reinfection. Reinfections were reclassified as cured. RESULTS: Of 172 children who were referred to the study clinic, 126 satisfied inclusion criteria and were enrolled. No early treatment failures were reported. The day 14, efficacy was 98.2% (95% CI: 93.8-99.8). Of 65 recurrent parasitaemias analysed by PCR, 17 were recrudescences. The PCR-adjusted day 28 efficacy was 84.5% (95% CI: 76.4-90.7). All true failures occurred in the last 8 days of follow-up. Of 110 children who completed the 28-day follow-up, 54 (49.1%) experienced a novel infection. CONCLUSION: The efficacy of this combination was disappointing. The high reinfection rate suggested little prophylactic effect. In Kailahun a more efficacious combination might be necessary in the future. The efficacy of AS + AQ needs to be monitored in Kailahun and in the other regions of Sierra Leone.