Divulgação, Notícias

Malaria: even with the benefits of bed nets, the best tool to control it is diagnosis and early treatment

Doctor José Bento points that researches involving bed nets with long-lasting insecticides rarely used


Resistance to the ITNs has been detected in African and Asian countries, but in Brazil, resistance among malaria vectors is still Unknown

Studies have shown that insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) have a potential to increase the efforts controlling malaria in high insecticide resistance areas – inclusive a recently disclosed and conducted by the London Tropical Medicine and Hygiene School. However, many of these works are conducted in isolated forms, according to Doctor José Bento Lima, researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.

These studies take place in an isolated way, and are rare in some places, as in Brazil. Resistance to the insecticides used in these ITNs has been detected in Asian and African countries, but in Brazil, this resistance among malaria vectors is still unknown, explained Dr. Bento.

For this reason, still according to him, the National Malaria Control Program (PNCM) is eager to understand this resistance among malaria vector populations in Brazil, and there are already some initiatives in this sense.

To the Brazilian researcher, the main tool for malaria control is diagnosis and early treatment. However, in many areas of the Brazilian Amazon, this is not an easy task. Many people live in remote areas which are difficult to access, besides the indigenous villages and underground mining sites, depriving collection points for diagnosis and treatment of the disease, he said.

Bed nets

The ITNs are nets embedded with insecticide substances between the polymers that form its fibers and that, besides avoiding the mosquitos contact with the individual, make vectors die a few hours after touching the bed net.

The number of people killed my malaria has dropped by half from 2001 to 2013, reducing 47% worldwide and 58% in Africa, saving the equivalent to 4.3 million lives. This drop is explained by the introduction of better-applied prevention measures. In 2013, about half the population at risk in Africa had access to bed nets embedded with insecticides, while in 2004 this number was only 3%.

Despite these measures have significantly advanced over the last decade, the benefits are still fragile and unequally distributed, keeping the case and death counts in unacceptable levels especially in African countries, clarifies doctor Bento.

Still according to him, the available tools to combat malaria must be better known. He quotes the massive implementation of bed nets in the Amazon since 2010. This process, however, took place without previous studies to evaluate the strategys efficiency, the acceptance of the bed nets by the population or even an assessment of the impact of the distributed bed nets controlling vectors in the attended sites.…