Bed nets prevent malaria infection

Overnight stays in farming huts are known to pose a risk of malaria infection. But a study conducted among farmers in rural Laos suggests that malaria infection is likely preventable if insecticide-treated bed nets are properly used in farming huts.

Malaria is the leading cause of illness and death in Laos, with 70 percent of the population at risk. Most of the Laotian population lives in rural areas and 84 percent of households engage in rice farming. During the rice farming season, farmers and their family members often move from their village to a farm, where they stay in a temporary shelter (farming huts).

“The finding is important not only because overnight stays in farming huts are reported in malaria endemic countries other than Laos, but because overnight stays in farming huts are not confined to adult population,” the study reported. Children under age five years, those most vulnerable to malaria infection, are usually taken to the farming huts by their parents.

1. Nonaka D, Laimanivong S, Kobayashi J, et al. Is staying overnight in a farming hut a risk factor for malaria infection in a setting with insecticide-treated bed nets in rural Laos? Malaria Journal 2010; 9: 372. (open access).