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a method of preventing diseases—primarily infectious diseases—by using chemical agents. Primary chemoprophylaxis is the administering of chemical agents to healthy persons likely to become infected in epidemic focuses of cholera or plague and in regions where malaria is prevalent. Chemical agents may also be administered to individuals who come into regular contact with tuberculous patients and to persons engaging in casual sexual relations. Chemoprophylaxis helps to prevent infectious diseases and complications in surgical patients likely to experience suppuration and in patients with low immunity (for example, the administration of antibiotics to those undergoing treatment with cytostatic agents or to debilitated influenza patients to prevent inflammation of the lungs).
Secondary chemoprophylaxis is the use of chemical agents to prevent recurrences of neoplasms (for example, in leukemia or after radical excision of a tumor) and rejection of organs and tissues after transplantation.