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Volume 6, Pages 1631-1641
Review Article

Health Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Insecticide-Treated Mosquito Nets in the Control of Malaria in Endemic Regions, Revised

1Cahers Research C/o 41 MCH, 190 College Road, Birmingham B8 3TG, England, UK
2Department of Microbiology, Abia State University, Nigeria
3Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
4Division of Pediatrics and Community Health Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Academic Editor: Hatim A. Omar

Copyright © 2006 Ebere C. Anyanwu et al.


The endemicity of malaria in tropical areas of the world persists, especially in countries south of Saharan Africa. The efforts and concerns invested by the World Health Organization and other health agencies to eradicate malaria are commendable. However, in spite of all these efforts, the loss in economic and human resources continues. In a previous report, the long-term health effects of insecticide-impregnated bednet (IIBN) use were highlighted with the expectation of attracting serious thoughts and further research on the issue. This present paper is an update on that expectation. Results from a comprehensive literature search show that not much work has been done on the effects of long-term exposure to IIBNs in combating malarial infection. The efficacy of IIBNs is not in question. What is in question is whether long-term exposure to IIBNs have any health effects. The aims and outcomes of the research found in the literature on the subject to date seem to support only the efficacy of the temporal use of plain bednets, but not the use of IIBNs, and do not tell much about the long-term effects of IIBN exposure. All pesticides are toxic by nature and present risks of adverse effects. While there is agreement that IIBNs can be effective in reducing malarial morbidity and mortality under field trials, a number of factors relating to their long-term-exposure health effects have yet to be determined. Further reliable research projects are recommended urgently. However, some of the anticipated behavioral effects caused by insecticidal use will be avoided by the use of untreated nets instead.