Malaria: Insecticide-Treated Nets Help Prevent Spread Of Illness

First Posted: Feb 26, 2016 11:52 PM EST

Despite the potential for mosquitoes to develop resistances, a new study by researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Malaria Consortium shows that insecticide-treated nets may still help in preventing malaria.

In this recent study, researchers fed mosquitoes with malaria infected blood and then exposed some of them to insecticide. A week later, they checked for parasite development. Findings showed that the portion of infected mosquitoes was much lower in the group exposed to the insecticide when compared to counterparts that were not. Furthermore, those who were infected developed fewer parasites than the unexposed group.

"This is a significant result. It suggests that the use of insecticide-treated nets might continue to reduce malaria even in areas where the mosquitoes have become resistant," study co-author Dr. Tarekegn Abeku, Malaria Consortium's Senior Technical Specialist, said in a news release. "If so, that would give us more time to develop alternatives."

Researchers said they believe that one possible explanation for this is that despite the fact that some mosquitoes seem to survive contact with insecticide, the malaria parasite inside the mosquites are affected by the chemicals.

"Our findings could help to explain why, so far, insecticide-treated nets seem to remain partly effective despite increasing resistance," study author Dr. Jo Lines, Reader of Malaria Control and Vector Biology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The study was published in the journal Parasites & Vectors.

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