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Bull World Health Organ. 1996;74(4):413-21.

Malaria control using permethrin applied to tents of nomadic Afghan refugees in northern Pakistan.

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  • 1Medical Department, MSF-Holland, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Malaria control among nomadic populations has, in the past, posed serious logistic difficulties. Presented in this article are the results of a pilot study in which permethrin was sprayed on the tents of over 26000 nomadic Afghan refugees in an area of Pakistan where seasonal malaria outbreaks occur. In this area Anopheles culicifacies and A. stephensi are the malaria vectors. Population surveys in the year of the study, before and at the end of the transmission season, showed that the increase in the Plasmodium falciparum prevalence among the Afghan nomads was on average significantly less (increase from 6.4% to 15.3%) than that among the resident Pakistani population (from 3.2% to 45.6%). Surveys at the end of the transmission season among primary schoolchildren the year before and the year of the permethrin trial showed that the P. falciparum prevalence among nomadic children decreased significantly (from 46.9% to 16.3%), whereas an increase was observed among the local Pakistani children. The results show that spraying tents with permethrin was a safe and culturally acceptable intervention for the Afghan refugees and that the findings warrant further investigation.

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