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Estimation of insecticide persistence, biological activity and mosquito resistance to PermaNet® 2 long-lasting insecticidal nets over three to 32 months of use in Ethiopia
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    Background

    Information is needed on the expected durability of insecticidal nets under operational conditions. The persistence of insecticidal efficacy is important to estimate the median serviceable life of nets under field conditions and to plan for net replacement.

    Methods

    Deltamethrin residue levels were evaluated by the proxy method of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry on 189 nets used for three to six months from nine sites, 220 nets used for 14-20 months from 11 sites, and 200 nets used for 26-32 months from ten sites in Ethiopia. A random sample of 16.5-20% of nets from each time period (total 112 of 609 nets) were tested by bioassay with susceptible mosquitoes, and nets used for 14-20 months and 26-32 months were also tested with wild caught mosquitoes.

    Results

    Mean insecticide levels estimated by X-ray fluorescence declined by 25.9% from baseline of 66.2 (SD 14.6) mg/m2 at three to six months to 44.1 (SD 21.2) mg/m2 at 14-20 months and by 30.8% to 41.1 (SD 18.9) mg/m2 at 26-32 months. More than 95% of nets retained greater than 10 mg/m2 of deltamethrin and over 79% had at least 25 mg/m2 at all time periods. By bioassay with susceptible Anopheles, mortality averaged 89.0% on 28 nets tested at three to six months, 93.3% on 44 nets at 14-20 months and 94.1% on 40 nets at 26-32 months. With wild caught mosquitoes, mortality averaged 85.4% (range 79.1 to 91.7%) at 14-20 months but had dropped significantly to 47.2% (39.8 to 54.7%) at 26-32 months.

    Conclusions

    Insecticide residue level, as estimated by X-ray fluorescence, declined by about one third between three and six months and 14-20 months, but remained relatively stable and above minimum requirements thereafter up to 26-32 months. The insecticidal activity of PermaNet® 2.0 long-lasting insecticidal nets in the specified study area may be considered effective to susceptible mosquitoes at least for the duration indicated in this study (32 months). However, results indicated that resistance in the wild population is already rendering nets with optimum insecticide concentrations less effective in practice.