Most children in areas where malaria is endemic are semi-immune against serious malaria by the age of seven, but for children under five the disease can be serious, and a million worldwide die each year from malaria. The review of 21 trials found that children taking regular antimalarial prophylaxis or intermittent treatment were less likely to get malaria, severe anaemia, or be admitted to hospital, but there was no change in the overall death rate. The benefits are similar in intermittent treatment of infants and prolonged prophylaxis, but long-term deleterious effects, including the possibility that it may interfere with the development of children's immunity to malaria, are unknown for either regimen. Further trials with long-term follow up are needed.
Meremikwu, M.M.; Donegan, S.; Esu, E. Chemoprophylaxis and intermittent treatment for preventing malaria in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2008) (Issue 2) Art. No.: CD003756. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003756.pub3]