Pyrethroid-treated bed-nets act against late-night biting mosquitoes, like traps baited by the body odor of the occupant. The personal protective effect of treated nets is considerable, even if they are torn. However, some biting of the occupants does occur, as shown by matching microsatellite alleles in mosquito blood meals to those of net occupants. When whole communities were provided with treated nets, ovarian age grading showed that mosquito survival was reduced, and so was the number of sporozoite-positive mosquitoes in malarious communities. Thus, a high percentage of coverage of all members of malaria-endemic communities is considered to be the most effective way of providing protection for highly malaria-vulnerable children and pregnant women. Teams distributing nets or retreating them free of charge show high productivity, and we consider this the most cost-effective way to proceed. There is evidence for reduced anti-malaria antibody levels in children in communities where treated nets have long been used. However, overall benefits in reduced anemia and mortality are sustained. A high frequency of the kdr resistance gene has not prevented pyrethroid-treated nets from functioning, but it is important to develop alternative fabric treatments in case stronger forms of resistance emerge.
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Vol. 22 • No. 3