Bed nets problematic in malaria prevention

June 22, 2006 at 1:25 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, June 22 (UPI) -- A U.S. scientist says she's found simply giving insecticide treated bed nets to families in malaria-affected areas may not be enough to stop the disease.

Tulane University health researcher Kate Macintyre and colleagues recently published research showing 17 percent of children and 50 percent of adults in Eritrean households with a bed net did not regularly use the nets.

Insecticide treated bed nets are one of the main strategies used globally to prevent the spread of malaria. They are affordable and effective as long as they are used, says Macintyre.

The research team surveyed 2,241 households in Eritrea and found bed nets were more likely to be used by households close to a clinic, where bed net use can be explained. Knowledge of malaria transmission also increases bed net use.

The next step, according to Macintyre, is to study the factors that might affect bed net use, such as prioritizing the household net for children or for difficulty hanging the net every night. Understanding factors effecting use can help health managers promote net use more effectively, said Macintyre.

The research appears in the June issue of the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health.

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