Students’ Field Research Project on Malaria: a modern plague

This article is the prosecution of “Students’ Field Research Project on Malaria: Introduction“, explaining the origin of a medical research experience involving Louis-Georges Roumy1, Niccolò Stomeo1, Abu Elamin1 Khattab Ayman 2 and Seppo Meri.1,2

1 Humanitas Institute, Milan, Italy
2 University of Helsinki, Finland

Vector Control: The final step towards Malaria Eradication?

Written by Roumy Louis-Georges, Stomeo Niccolò, Elamin Abu, Hunimed Students

In the introductory article the origin of the project and basic facts on malaria – cause and diffusion – are presented.  Read the introduction.

Malaria – A modern plague

The Anopheles mosquito does not specifically feed on humans but can also feed on both cattle or birds. However, A. gambiae, the most important vector for malarial transmission, mainly feeds on humans and is therefore much more efficient in transmitting malaria.

Anopheles mosquito malaria diseaseMost Anopheles mosquitoes are nocturnal and feed at dusk or at night. Therefore it seems logical that the most efficient way to combat this problem would be aimed at reducing the transmission rate at night -primarily during the sleep hours.

Currently efficient techniques such as bed netting are already implicated but the major problems are that they are never fully secure and do not BREAK the mosquitoes cycle as they are still free to carry on the transmission. Although the current techniques are useful for protection, they do not represent a definitive solution towards the eradication of Malaria.

It is for this reason that new innovative techniques such as the 3D screen nets are being implemented in synergy with the prior successful techniques.

Furthermore understanding the feeding behaviour of mosquitoes and their reproductive cycle have been a crucial part in devising effective preventative measures. In order to fully understand this complex disease it has proved vital to collect relevant samples and deduce accurate statistics about the prevalence of malaria in these collected specimens.

While gathering this information and devising solutions one must always take into account the characteristics of the houses. Typical east african houses have specific characteristics that increase the possibility of exposure to the vector, such as: open eaves, structural defects, holes in the bed nets and are usually densely populated. Indeed having multiple people sleeping in one room greatly increases the probability of transmission from one infected person to the rest.

Past measures have dramatically reduced the mortality rates and comorbidities. Implementing simple, affordable and effective methods of prevention has been the true challenge. It is for this reason that the 3D screen net was developed.

Want to know more about malaria and its solutions? 
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