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Research Article

Preventing Childhood Malaria in Africa by Protecting Adults from Mosquitoes with Insecticide-Treated Nets

  • Gerry F Killeen mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: gkilleen@ihrdc.or.tz

    Affiliations: Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Morogoro, United Republic of Tanzania, Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom

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  • Tom A Smith,

    Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel, Switzerland

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  • Heather M Ferguson,

    Affiliations: Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Morogoro, United Republic of Tanzania, Division of Infection and Immunity, Glasgow University, Glasgow, United Kingdom, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Glasgow University, Glasgow, United Kingdom

    X
  • Hassan Mshinda,

    Affiliation: Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Morogoro, United Republic of Tanzania

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  • Salim Abdulla,

    Affiliation: Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Morogoro, United Republic of Tanzania

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  • Christian Lengeler,

    Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel, Switzerland

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  • Steven P Kachur

    Affiliations: Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Morogoro, United Republic of Tanzania, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

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  • Published: July 03, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040229

Reader Comments (1)

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Dare we suggest DDT?

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:10 GMT

Author: David Grant
Position: Physician
Institution: Private practice, San Antonio, TX
E-mail: david.grant.med.74@aya.yale.edu
Submitted Date: July 07, 2007
Published Date: July 8, 2007
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

What insecticide is used on the nets? Would DDT (dare we suggest it?) be preferable?

DDT can persist for months, even over a year, when sprayed on a surface; it would probably last as long on a net. It has very low toxicity to humans (which is one reason it was over-used in the mid 20th century). It has now been out of use long enough that most insect populations should be sensitive to it.

The environmental problems with DDT came after years of heavy agricultural use. Resuming its use in a very limited way, either solely on mosquito nets or also sprayed on the walls of rooms where people sleep, would be very unlikely to re-create the environmental problems, I believe. It could reduce the cost of nets, prolong their effectiveness, and make them safer. I can easily imagine an infant sleeping under a mosquito net getting hold of the net and sucking on it; DDT is probably the safest insecticide to use on infant's nets.

No competing interests declared.