An outbreak of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in U.S. marines deployed to Liberia

Timothy J. Whitman, Philip E. Coyne, Alan J. Magill, David L. Blazes, Michael D. Green, Wilbur K. Milhous, Timothy H. Burgess, Daniel Freilich, Sybil A. Tasker, Ramzy G. Azar, Timothy P. Endy, Christopher D. Clagett, Gregory A. Deye, G. Dennis Shanks, Gregory J. Martin

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58 Scopus citations


In 2003, 44 U.S. Marines were evacuated from Liberia with either confirmed or presumed Plasmodium falciparum malaria. An outbreak investigation showed that only 19 (45%) used insect repellent, 5 (12%) used permethrin-treated clothing, and none used bed netting. Adherence with weekly mefloquine (MQ) was reported by 23 (55%). However, only 4 (10%) had serum MQ levels high enough to correlate with protection (> 794 ng/mL), and 9 (22%) had evidence of steady-state kinetics (MQ carboxy metabolite/MQ > 3.79). Tablets collected from Marines met USP identity and dissolution specifications for MQ. Testing failed to identify P. falciparum isolates with MQ resistance. This outbreak resulted from under use of personal protective measures and inadequate adherence with chemophrophylaxis. It is essential that all international travelers make malaria prevention measures a priority, especially when embarking to regions of the world with high transmission intensity such as west Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010


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