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Malaria hope

August 18, 2009
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Strategically placing indoor UV insect zappers outside habitations could prevent malaria, according to a report from Africa.

A Chinese peacekeeping unit in Liberia positioned four of these indoor machines outside their 2,000 square-metres compound and eight months later, not a single peacekeeper had succumbed to malaria. Pre-zapper installation, more than three-quarters of the peacekeepers got the mosquito-borne disease despite using bednets and other preventative measures.

The electric machines work by attracting insects with ultraviolet light and then killing them on high-voltage wires. Each unit costs around US$12 – not cheap – but surely a starting point for effective government or NGO aid.

“Even though it is specifically noted in the instruction booklets of these apparatuses that they are not suitable for outdoor use, our eight months of practice demonstrated that they can also attract and kill mosquitoes in the outdoors,” the scientists wrote in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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