Chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is increasing in prevelance in Papua New Guinea and alternative therapies for acute malaria are being sought. A trial of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for the treatment of acute falciparum malaria in children has been carried out in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Eighty-five children were treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, either alone or in combination with a single 10 mg/kg dose of chloroquine. Of 78 children completing 28-days follow-up, treatment failures occurred in 15 (19.2%) and of these, 8 (10.3%), are believed to be sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistant; the others remain equivocal. There was no advantage in this study in combining a single dose of chloroquine with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine; indeed, this combination was associated with an increased incidence of vomiting. It is argued that sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine should not become the standard presumptive treatment for acute malaria in Papua New Guinea.
Present address: Department of Paediatrics, Christchurch Hospital, Private Bag, Christchurch, New Zealand.