Management and prevention of imported malaria in children. Update of the French guidelines

Med Mal Infect. 2020 Mar;50(2):127-140. doi: 10.1016/j.medmal.2019.02.005. Epub 2019 Mar 15.


Since the 2007 French guidelines on imported Falciparum malaria, the epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of malaria have changed considerably requiring guidelines for all Plasmodium species to be updated. Over the past decade, the incidence of imported malaria has decreased in all age groups, reflecting the decrease in the incidence of malaria in endemic areas. The rates of severe pediatric cases have increased as in adults, but fatalities are rare. The parasitological diagnosis requires a thick blood smear (or a rapid immunochromatographic test) and a thin blood film. Alternatively, a rapid antigen detection test can be paired with a thin blood film. Thrombocytopenia in children presenting with fever is highly predictive of malaria following travel to a malaria-endemic area and, when detected, malaria should be strongly considered. The first-line treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria is now an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), either artemether-lumefantrine or artenimol-piperaquine, as recommended by the World Health Organization in endemic areas. Uncomplicated presentations of non-falciparum malaria should be treated either with chloroquine or ACT. The first-line treatment of severe malaria is now intravenous artesunate which is more effective than quinine in endemic areas. Quinine is restricted to cases where artesunate is contraindicated or unavailable. Prevention of malaria in pediatric travelers consists of nocturnal personal protection against mosquitoes (especially insecticide-treated nets) combined with chemoprophylaxis according to the risk level.

Keywords: Children; Enfant; France; Imported malaria; Paludisme d’importation; Prevention; Prévention; Traitement; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Communicable Diseases, Imported / drug therapy*
  • Communicable Diseases, Imported / prevention & control*
  • Decision Trees
  • France
  • Humans
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antimalarials