There is medicine that may be used as to cure malaria if the disease is treated early enough. Examples of these medications include chloroquine, mefloquine, and quinine. These medicines work by killing the parasite that causes the disease. Of course, it's better to prevent the disease from developing in the first place. Prevention strategies, such as eliminating places around the home where mosquitoes breed, are particularly helpful for people in areas where the malaria risk is high.
Malaria is a leading cause of death and disease worldwide, especially in developing countries. It is estimated that each year 300 to 500 million cases of malaria occur, and more than 1 million people die of malaria annually. Although it can be a fatal disease, illness and death from malaria are largely preventable. In fact, for patients diagnosed early, a cure is possible because one of several medicines that kill the malaria parasite (Plasmodium) can be prescribed.
Specific medications that can be used as a cure include:
- Mefloquine (Lariam®)
- Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone®)
- Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (Fansidar®)
- Artemisin derivatives (not licensed for use in the United States, but often found overseas).
Of course, preventing malaria in the first place is better than needing a cure. If you live in, or will be visiting, an area where the risk for malaria is high, malaria prevention strategies are recommended. Some of these include:
- Keeping mosquitoes from biting you, especially at night
- Wearing insect repellent and long-sleeved clothing if you are outdoors at night
- Sleeping under bed nets, which are especially effective if they have been treated with insecticide
- Taking anti-malaria medications for malaria prophylaxis (prevention of spread)
- Eliminating places around your home where mosquitoes breed
- Spraying insecticides on your home's walls to kill adult mosquitoes that come inside.