Malarial mosquitoes buzz off due to net effect

A META-ANALYSIS of studies investigating the rollout of insecticide-treated nets (ITN) in African communities has concluded they are saving young lives.

Seven studies from seven sub-Saharan countries indicate children living in a household with a treated net were 20% less likely to have malaria parasites in their blood.

There was also a 23% reduction in deaths among children aged one month to five years associated with family ownership of treated nets, based on 29 surveys conducted in 22 communities.

“Additional health gains could be achieved with further increases in ITN coverage in populations at risk of malaria,” the authors concluded, while warning work was also needed to replace nets as they wore out.

PLoS Medicine 2011, online 6 September