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Malar J. 2014 Jan 14;13:21. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-13-21.

Entomological and parasitological impacts of indoor residual spraying with DDT, alphacypermethrin and deltamethrin in the western foothill area of Madagascar.

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Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Ambatofotsikely, Antananarivo 101, BP 1274, Madagascar.



In Madagascar, indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticide was part of the national malaria control programme since the middle of the twentieth century. It was mainly employed in the highlands and the foothill areas, which are prone to malaria epidemics. Prior to a policy change foreseeing a shift from DDT to pyrethroids, a study was carried out to assess the entomological and parasitological impacts of IRS in areas with DDT or pyrethroids and in areas without IRS.


The study was carried out from October 2002 to February 2005 in three communes of the western foothill area of Madagascar. Two communes received IRS with DDT in February 2003, then IRS with pyrethroids (alphacypermethrin or deltamethrin) in February 2004. The third commune remained untreated. Mosquitoes were collected at night using human landing catches and early in the morning in resting places. Blood smears were obtained from schoolchildren and microscopically examined for Plasmodium presence.


In total, 18,168 human landing mosquitoes and 12,932 resting anophelines were collected. The Anopheles species caught comprised 10 species. The main and most abundant malaria vector was Anopheles funestus (72.3% of human-seeking malaria vectors caught indoors). After IRS had taken place, this species exhibited a lower human biting rate and a lower sporozoite index. Overall, 5,174 blood smears were examined with a mean plasmodic index of 19.9%. A total of four Plasmodium species were detected. Amongst tested school children the highest plasmodial index was 54.6% in the untreated commune, compared to 19.9% in the commune sprayed with DDT and 11.9% in the commune sprayed with pyrethroid. The highest prevalence of clinical malaria attacks in children present at school the day of the survey was 33% in the untreated commune compared to 8% in the areas which received IRS.


In terms of public health, the present study shows (1) a high efficacy of IRS with insecticide, (2) a similar efficacy of DDT and pyrethroid and (3) a similar efficacy of alphacypermethrin and deltamethrin. The use of IRS with DDT and pyrethroid greatly decreased the vector-human contact, with an associated decrease of the plasmodial index. However malaria transmission did not reach zero, probably due to the exophilic host-seeking and resting behaviours of the malaria vectors, thus avoiding contact with insecticide-treated surfaces indoors. The study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the IRS implementation and the need for complementary tools for an optimal vector control in Madagascar.

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