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What are some facts about malaria prophylaxis?

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Malaria prophylaxis, the prevention of malaria, is primarily accomplished through prevention of contact with the mosquitoes that carry the disease and by preventing the disease taking hold if the mosquitoes are encountered, the World Health Organization explains. People mostly encounter mosquitoes at night, and mosquito nets treated with insecticides are an essential tool to keep them away from people while they sleep.

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If an infected mosquito bites a person, medications can suppress the blood stage of malaria and prevent full infection, the World Health Organization says. People living in areas with a high risk of malaria can benefit from regular administration of antimalaria drugs. These are particularly important for children and pregnant women. These treatments are often administered seasonally in response to the times mosquitoes are most prevalent. Treating indoor spaces with insecticides can also reduce the overall rate of infection and is most effective when at least 80 percent of houses in an area are sprayed.

Malaria prevalence has decreased greatly over time, but it remains most common in sub-Saharan Africa, says the World Health Organization. Risk of malaria also remains in Latin America and Asia, and a small risk remains in the Middle East and parts of Europe. In part, it is the near-ideal conditions for malaria-carrying mosquitoes that keeps sub-Saharan Africa at the highest risk.

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