Disrupting mosquito breeding is the latest method of trying to eradicate malaria. A pilot study in Tanzania to help prevent malaria is identifying and targeting bodies of water where mosquitoes lay eggs.
ADAPTING TO SURVIVE:
The larvae are then poisoned with larvicide and eventually die. Results show that in the six wards of Dar es Salaam where larvaciding took place, the density of adult mosquitoes fell by fifty-seven per cent.
One of the best ways to protect the most vulnerable people from malaria is a bed net. They are highly effective because malaria carrying mosquitoes usually bite at night. But mosquitoes are adapting to survive. Their behaviour is changing.
It is not just mosquitoes that are adapting. Africans are moving to cities in large numbers. So identifying and disrupting mosquito breeding sites makes sense.
The Dar es Salaam pilot study, lead by Dr Nicodem Govella, is testing how effective larvicide is in reducing malaria in a large city. The only way to find out if the mosquito larvae are being killed is to see if the number of adults has fallen.
As part of the study six funnel shaped entrances have been built into a large area. Mosquitoes can enter easily – but getting out is much harder. The results show that in the six wards of Dar es Salaam where larviciding took place, the density of adult mosquitoes fell by fifty seven percent.
So it appears to be effective – but it is not cheap. Scientists hope to replicate the experiment in many other cities throughout Africa, but funding is a major issue.