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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Malaria Vaccination?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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Parasites cause malaria in various parts of the world by infecting mosquitoes, resulting in millions of cases of human infection via mosquito bite. The disease can result in death, but medicines known as malaria prophylaxis can greatly reduce this risk. There are other recommended preventive measures, but there is no malaria vaccination available for the public yet. Millions of dollars are being invested in research for a successful malaria vaccination, and there is one that appears to be especially promising after a trial was conducted on African children.

Different parasites are responsible for infection, and so medical experts recommend a variety of anti-malaria medications, depending on where in the world a traveler is heading. Recommendations are made for specific countries, with African nations being one of the prime malaria-prone areas. None of these medicines are 100 percent successful every time, and the discovery and implementation a new way to fight the disease via a malaria vaccination would go a long way toward prevention.

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Malaria can result in death, and two children die every minute from the disease, according to the World Health Organization. The hope is that a malaria vaccination would greatly reduce the number of deaths each year from the disease. In the meantime, people who must travel to malaria-prone regions of the world can avail themselves of a variety of prescribed medications, but there are disadvantages as well as advantages. With some of these medications, ingestion is not recommended for pregnant women or for people who suffer from kidney disease. Another drug may exacerbate already existing medical conditions, but is safe for pregnant women. Some of the drugs are advantageous because they can be taken shortly before a trip, or for short periods of time, while others that offer similar protections need to be taken for longer time periods or well in advance of a trip.

Malaria does not always result in death, but the disease’s symptoms are uncomfortable and unpleasant, including fevers, chills and a general feeling of having the flu. Adding to the misery are fake pills designed to look like anti-malaria drugs, which have led to the deaths of some people who believed they actually had protection conferred by the fake medications. Travelers should always purchase such medications in their home country because of quality-control issues and problems caused by storage in humid and hot areas.

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