Malaria in adolescence: burden of disease, consequences, and opportunities for intervention.
Lalloo DG., Olukoya P., Olliaro P.
The problem of malaria in adolescence has largely been overshadowed by the huge burden of disease in young children. A substantial number of adolescents are at risk from malaria infection, but the burden of disease and consequences of infection in this age-group have rarely been studied. Our understanding of specific risk factors and beneficial interventions for adolescents is also limited. Data show that, from an adolescent viewpoint, malaria is a common cause of clinical illness and a preventable cause of death, even in areas of stable malaria transmission. Younger adolescents might be at a higher risk than older adolescents, because of immunological and hormonal factors. There are limited data about the adverse consequences of malaria in non-pregnant adolescents. However, in pregnant adolescents, the consequences of malaria are of great concern and simple interventions might lead to a substantial benefit. Malaria infection in adolescents is an under-recognised problem, and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria should have a high priority within adolescent health programmes.