Vector Control, Saving Lives

Vector control is proven

Indoor residual spraying has saved many lives

Only two interventions aimed at the mosquitoes that transmit malaria and other vector borne diseases are operationally proven to dramatically reduce disease transmission, and to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality, in the majority of epidemiological settings. These are indoor residual spraying (IRS) of insecticides, and use of long lasting pyrethroid impregnated bed nets (LLINs).

Used effectively these two methods are capable of spectacular results. The malaria eradication campaigns of the mid 1900s using these tools eliminated malaria in much of the world. It was driven out of the USA, most of Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia, and the disease burden was substantially reduced in much of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The eradication campaigns were discontinued for a variety of reasons, including concerns about drug and insecticide resistance and problems with sustainability. Vector control, as conducted in the 1960s, relied on intensive, short-term efforts, without a long term vision or strategy for maintenance. Over the last two decades there has been a shift, particularly in Africa, away from the original vector control paradigm of IRS towards large scale distribution of insecticide treated bednets (LLINs).