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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
August 13, 2014

Malaria’s Toll in the Peace Corps

JAMA. 2014;312(6):591. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9326

About one-fourth of US Peace Corps volunteers serving in malaria-endemic regions of Africa don’t take the prescribed antimalarial medications that the agency requires, according to a recent survey.

In addition to insecticide-treated bed nets and mosquito repellents, preventive medications are recommended for long-term travelers to regions where malaria is endemic. The 3 that are available in Africa are mefloquine, doxycycline, and atovaquone-proguanil.

Concerns about increasing cases of severe malaria among Peace Corps volunteers prompted the survey. Since 1961, 7 volunteers have died of malaria contracted during their service. From 2009 to 2012, however, malaria case rates among volunteers went as high as 18 cases per 100 volunteer-years.

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