Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centro de Investigaciones en Salud, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Division of Malaria, Ministerio de Salud Publica y Asistencia Social, Atlanta, Georgia
Permethrin-impregnated bed nets were evaluated as a control measure for malaria in northern Guatemala. Twelve hundred forty participants were allocated to one of three experimental groups (impregnated bed nets [IBN], untreated bed nets [UBN], and controls) and followed up for a period of 13 months. The incidence density of malaria was significantly lower in both IBN (86 cases/1,000 person-years) and UBN groups (106/1,000) compared with that in controls (200/1,000). No difference in malaria incidence was noted between the IBN and UBN groups. Complaints of fever and chills were less frequent in the IBN group compared with controls. The participants were enthusiastic about the nets, which they saw as a means for avoiding nuisance insects more than for preventing malaria. Most (85%) wanted to wash their nets every 4–12 weeks, a practice known to shorten the duration of residual insecticide action. Larger studies are needed to determine whether or not impregnated bed nets offer an advantage over untreated nets in this setting.