Mosquito Nets Prove Key in Malaria Prevention

OXFORD, England, Oct. 2 (UPI) — Children ages 5 and older are the least likely to be protected by insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Africa, British researchers said.

The nets reduce the chances of developing life-threatening malaria in Africa but recent research findings, published in BMC Public Health, show that older children — ages 5-19 — are the least well protected by these nets.

Study leader Abdisalan M. Noor of the University of Oxford in England and a member of the Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Program says there are two reasons the older children need to use the nets.

“Firstly, they represent a large fraction of the population in most developing African communities,” Noor said in a statement.

“Secondly, while they may have developed a functional immune response against clinical disease before their fifth birthday, they will not have developed an immunity to the malaria parasite and continue to contribute transmission in the community.”

Noor and colleagues estimated 80 percent of human-mosquito transmission comes from those age 5 and older. Young adolescents and older children are the peak age group, so protecting this age group from malaria should be viewed as important, the researchers added.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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