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Better Malaria Diagnostic Test May Cause Unintended Increase In Antibiotic Use, Study Says

Though the implementation of rapid malaria tests has reduced the administration of unnecessary antimalarial medications in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, “antibiotic prescriptions for fever rose by nearly a quarter, from 49 to 72 percent, raising fears that the behaviour will contribute to growing antibiotic resistance,” according to a study published in Malaria Journal last month, SciDev.Net reports. 

Valerie D’Acremont, the study’s lead author and a senior scientist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, said clinicians prescribe antibiotics to be safe because there is a lack of tests for other infections, according to the article. “Ideally, with training and the implementation of clinical guidelines, it’s possible to reduce antibiotic use from 80 percent to 25 percent of patients,” she added (Axt, 5/20).