Abstract

Resettlement to the United States of malaria-infected refugees can pose problems for both the refugees and their resettlement communities, To formulate malaria management strategies for East African refugees before resettlement to the United States, epidemiologic data were reviewed and malaria prevalence surveys were conducted among refugees awaiting resettlement in Mombasa, Kenya, and Khartoum, Sudan, in 1993, Overall, 279 Somali (Mombasa) and 127 Ethiopian (Khartoum) refugees were surveyed. Malaria contributed significantly to morbidity in Mombasa: 15% (43/279) of Somalis were parasitemic; 39 infections (91%) were due to Plasmodium falciparum. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine was effective treatment. In Khartoum, only 0.8% (1/127) were parasitemic; recent fever or antimalarial use were uncommon. Presumptive sulfadoxinepyrimethamine treatment before departure was recommended for all resettling refugees from Mombasa; in Khartoum, individual assessment of febrile illness was recommended. Prevention of malaria parasitemia by mass drug administration or individual therapy can minimize the burden of malarial illness to refugees and their resettlement communities.

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