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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Insecticide treated nets: impact on vector populations and relevance of initial intensity of transmission and pyrethroid resistance.

Insecticide treated bednets locate a deposit of a quick-acting insecticide of low human toxicity between a sleeper and host-seeking mosquitoes. Thus a chemical barrier is added to the often incomplete physical barrier provided by the net. Treated nets may be considered as mosquito traps baited by the odour of the sleeper. Trials in Assam, Tanzania and elsewhere have shown that when a whole community is provided with treated nets, so many mosquitoes of anthropophilic species are killed by contact with the nets that the density and/or sporozoite rate of the vector population is reduced. In order to gain this "mass" or community effect, in addition to widespread personal protection, and thus to achieve the full potential of the treated net method, a high per cent coverage of the community is needed. This suggests that organised free provision of treated nets, comparable to a house spraying programme, is likely to be more cost-effective than trying to market nets and insecticide to very poor rural people. In areas with high malaria transmission, where acquisition of immunity to malaria is very important, it has been argued that vector control (without vector eradication) could, in the long run, make the situation worse by preventing the normal build-up of immunity. However, our data from Tanzania do not support this idea--3-4 years after provision of nets (which are re-treated annually) young children are still showing clear health benefits; older children are not "paying" for this by showing worse impact of malaria. There is less malaria morbidity in a highland area where malaria transmission is about 15x less intense than in a nearby lowland area. The per cent impact of treated nets malaria morbidity in both area was very similar. At present only pyrethroids are used for net treatment which suggested that emergence of pyrethroid resistance would have a disastrous effect. However, in West Africa, where there is now a high frequency of the kdr resistance gene in Anopheles gambiae, it is reported that treated nets continue to have a powerful impact on vector populations. In Tanzania, pyrethroid resistance has not been detected in malaria vectors, but it has emerged in bedbugs after seven years use of treated nets.[1]


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