Impact of permethrin-treated bednets on malaria transmission by the Anopheles gambiae complex in The Gambia


M.R.C. Laboratories, P.O. Box 273, Fajara, near Banjul, The Gambig, West Africa.


ABSTRACT. Malaria vector mosquitoes belonging to the Anopheles gambiae complex were studied in four hamlets in The Gambia. All inhabitants were given bednets treated either with a placebo (milk) in two hamlets or with the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin (500 mg/m2) in two other hamlets. Malaria transmission occurred mainly during a few weeks of the rainy season, in September and October 1987. The indoor resting densities of mosquitoes in permethrin-treated hamlets were reduced, and we estimated over 90% reduction in biting on man by An. gambiae Giles sensu stricto in these hamlets. No mosquitoes were found under permethrin-treated bednets compare.d with eighty-one recovered from placebo-treated bednets. Mosquitoes exited more readily from rooms where permethrin-treated bednets were used than from rooms with placebo-treated nets. The annual mean probability that a child would receive an infective bite was estimated to be 0.09 in hamlets with insecticide-treated bednets, compared with 1.9 where placebo-treated bednets were used. Permethrin-treated bednets are therefore recommended as a means of effectively reducing the risk of exposure to malaria transmission, particularly in areas of low seasonal transmission.