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Pesticide Nets for Safety

Pesticide Laced Mosquito Nets Protect Children from Malaria

A recent study has found lacing mosquito nets with two pesticides reduces the prevalence of malaria by 44% when compared to mosquito nets laced with only one. This is especially true in areas where mosquitos have developed a resistance to first-line insecticides so the World Health Organization has recommended the use of two-chemical nets in these areas.

The pyrethroids that have been used in mosquito nets for over a decade are still present in the new nets, alongside piperonyl butoxide, which blocks the mosquitos ability to break down pyrethroids.

The search for insecticides that will kill or repel mosquitos while leaving babies and children unharmed has proved difficult. The insecticides also need to stand up to regular washing and intense sunlight. After only two years the piperonyl butoxide fades significantly. Once this chemical has faded malaria prevalence is reduced by only 33%. Still, malaria deaths have dropped 60% between 2000 and 2015, largely due to the use of pesticide lined netting.

In addition to netting, many individuals coat the inside walls of their homes with long-lasting pesticides, pregnant women and young children receive prophylactic treatment, and new rapid result malaria tests and treatments are available. In 2005 President George W. Bush's administration major a large cash commitment to fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria across the globe.

Recently the distribution of free mosquito nets in Africa has come under fire, however. Many of the nets are misused by fishermen and farmers who use them for catching and drying fish or fencing their gardens respectively. On World Malaria Day, April 25, Uganda's health minister threatened to have police arrest citizens using the nets for any other purpose than fighting malaria.

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