Incidence and consequences of damage to insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Kenya

Smith, T. and Denz, A. and Ombok, M. and Bayoh, N. and Koenker, H. and Chitnis, N. and Briët, O. and Yukich, J. and Gimnig, J. E.. (2021) Incidence and consequences of damage to insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Kenya. Malar J, 20. p. 476.

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BACKGROUND: Efforts to improve the impact of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) should be informed by understanding of the causes of decay in effect. Holes in LLINs have been estimated to account for 7-11% of loss in effect on vectorial capacity for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in an analysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys of LLINs in Kenya. This does not account for the effect of holes as a cause of net attrition or non-use, which cannot be measured using only cross-sectional data. There is a need for estimates of how much these indirect effects of physical damage on use and attrition contribute to decay in effectiveness of LLINs. METHODS: Use, physical integrity, and survival were assessed in a cohort of 4514 LLINs followed for up to 4 years in Kenya. Flow diagrams were used to illustrate how the status of nets, in terms of categories of use, physical integrity, and attrition, changed between surveys carried out at 6-month intervals. A compartment model defined in terms of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) was used to estimate the transition rates between the categories. Effects of physical damage to LLINs on use and attrition were quantified by simulating counterfactuals in which there was no damage. RESULTS: Allowing for the direct effect of holes, the effect on use, and the effect on attrition, 18% of the impact on vectorial capacity was estimated to be lost because of damage. The estimated median lifetime of the LLINs was 2.9 years, but this was extended to 5.7 years in the counterfactual without physical damage. Nets that were in use were more likely to be in a damaged state than unused nets but use made little direct difference to LLIN lifetimes. Damage was reported as the reason for attrition for almost half of attrited nets, but the model estimated that almost all attrited nets had suffered some damage before attrition. CONCLUSIONS: Full quantification of the effects of damage will require measurement of the supply of new nets and of household stocks of unused nets, and also of their impacts on both net use and retention. The timing of mass distribution campaigns is less important than ensuring sufficient supply. In the Kenyan setting, nets acquired damage rapidly once use began and the damage led to rapid attrition. Increasing the robustness of nets could substantially increase their lifetime and impact but the impact of LLIN programmes on malaria transmission is ultimately limited by levels of use. Longitudinal analyses of net integrity data from different settings are needed to determine the importance of physical damage to nets as a driver of attrition and non-use, and the importance of frequent use as a cause of physical damage in different contexts.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Infectious Disease Modelling > Epidemiology and Transmission Dynamics (Smith)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Disease Modelling > Mathematical Epidemiology (Chitnis)
UniBasel Contributors:Smith, Thomas A. and Denz, Adrian and Chitnis, Nakul and Briët, Olivier
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
ISSN:1475-2875 (Electronic)1475-2875 (Linking)
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Dec 2022 10:19
Deposited On:21 Dec 2022 10:19

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