The effect and control of malaria in pregnancy and lactating women in the Asia-Pacific region.
Unger HW., Acharya S., Arnold L., Wu C., van Eijk AM., Gore-Langton GR., Ter Kuile FO., Lufele E., Chico RM., Price RN., Moore BR., Thriemer K., Rogerson SJ.
Half of all pregnancies at risk of malaria worldwide occur in the Asia-Pacific region, where Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax co-exist. Despite substantial reductions in transmission, malaria remains an important cause of adverse health outcomes for mothers and offspring, including pre-eclampsia. Malaria transmission is heterogeneous, and infections are commonly subpatent and asymptomatic. High-grade antimalarial resistance poses a formidable challenge to malaria control in pregnancy in the region. Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy reduces infection risk in meso-endemic New Guinea, whereas screen-and-treat strategies will require more sensitive point-of-care tests to control malaria in pregnancy. In the first trimester, artemether-lumefantrine is approved, and safety data are accumulating for other artemisinin-based combinations. Safety of novel antimalarials to treat artemisinin-resistant P falciparum during pregnancy, and of 8-aminoquinolines during lactation, needs to be established. A more systematic approach to the prevention of malaria in pregnancy in the Asia-Pacific is required.