A new study published in the Lancet journal EClinical Medicine suggests that more mosquito nets are likely needed between mass campaigns to keep malaria cases in check. Writing in an accompanying commentary, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ (CCP’s) Dr. Hannah Koenker, says the paper shows that the loss of treated bed nets between mass campaigns may have a much greater impact on malaria transmission than previously understood.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Institut Pasteur, looked at net distribution in Madagascar from 2009 to 2015 and found that malaria cases began to rise long before the next campaign could distribute new insecticide-treated bed nets.
Mosquito nets “have never been a perfect tool, but they have worked remarkably well despite their imperfections,” Dr. Koenker writes in the July 30 publication. “Nonetheless, if we are serious about malaria control, it is abundantly clear that more [nets] need to be delivered than we are currently providing.” Dr. Koenker is director of VectorWorks, a CCP-led program funded by the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). CCP is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Treated bed nets are thought to be responsible for the lion’s share of the reduction in malaria cases worldwide since 2000. In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.