ABSTRACT. In the rain-forest of Suriname, where malaria is endemic, 95% of the Maroons (who call themselves bush-negroes) and all Amerindians use mosquito nets made of cotton cloth or, less frequently, nylon or cotton gauze over their hammocks or beds. Bush-negroes usually wash their nets weekly; Amerindians wash nets at 1–4-month intervals.
Females of the principal local malaria vector, Anopheles darlingi Root, were seen blood-feeding through cotton cloth netting (at 22.30-23.30 hours) on a person sleeping in a hammock; others fed successfully after the net was opened in the morning.
Cotton cloth impregnated with permethrin at a rate of 0.5 g/m2 killed all An. darlingi females exposed for 2 min, but after the material had been washed twice in soapy water the bioassay mortality fell to only 21.4%.
Exit traps on a hut with a single sleeper protected by a permethrin-impregnated net yielded 185 An. darlingi females (12% blood-fed) in 74 nights, compared with 276 females (19% blood-fed) from another hut with a sleeper using an untreated net on the same nights (P< 0.001). No An. dar-lingi females remained resting alive indoors in these huts during the daytime, and very few were found dead on the floor in the mornings (one treated, seven untreated). The 24 h mortality rate for those collected in exit traps was 58.4% for the test hut and 27.1% for the control hut (P< 0.001).
Bioassays of permethrin-treated cotton cloth using laboratory-reared sugar-fed Culex quinquefasciatus Say females showed that sprayed nets were less effective than nets impregnated by soaking (at equivalent dosages of 0.16-1.34 g/m2 measured by chemical assay) and confirmed that washing causes severe decline in insecticidal activity.
The feasibility of local mass treatment of mosquito nets is discussed.