Author(s): Edstein MD, Walsh DS, Eamsila C, Sasiprapha T, Nasveld PE,
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Abstract Since the eighties, the Australian Defence Force has deployed soldiers in malaria-endemic areas: Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Bougainville, and East Timor. Currently, doxycycline is used as first line prophylactic drug and mefloquine is recommended for those who cannot tolerate the antibiotic. In 1998, the Australian Defence Force participated in the evaluation of tafenoquine for prophylaxis of both falciparum and vivax malaria in Thai soldiers. At the completion of this six-month study, 29 of 205 soldiers had come down with malaria including eight with falciparum malaria, 20 with vivax malaria, and one with mixed infection. A total of 28 of the 101 soldiers in the placebo group were infected with malaria as compared with only one of the 104 soldiers in the tafenoquine group. In 1999, another study was started on the island of Bougainville to compare the effectiveness a 3-day course of tafenoquine and a 14-day course of primaquine for radical cure of vivax malaria. At the present time, 411 soldiers have completed the study including 201 in tafenoquine arm and 210 in primaquine arm. Seven soldiers in each arm developed vivax malaria after returning to Australia. These results indicate that tafenoquine is not superior to primaquine in preventing vivax malaria. However study participants preferred the shorter course using tafenoquine and operationally it was found to be more suitable than primaquine.
This article was published in Med Trop (Mars)
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense