Study examines effectiveness of targeting mosquito breeding grounds

A recent study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Durham University examined a method that could potentially decrease malaria prevalence by decreasing the mosquito population.

The study, titled the Cochrane review, was conducted by researchers across the United Kingdom and the U.S. Researchers examined 14 larval source management studies that targeted mosquito breeding grounds as a preventative method against malaria. Evidence suggested that LSM may reduce cases of malaria by 75 percent and infected persons by up to 90 percent.

"This is the first time the evidence on larval source management for malaria control has been systematically reviewed, and our research shows that the method can be an effective supplementary measure against malaria in both urban and rural areas of Africa and Asia -- wherever it is possible to target a sufficient proportion of mosquito breeding sites," Lead author Lucy Tusting of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said.

LSM is a process that targets breeding grounds for mosquitoes, standing water, and seeks to either permanently remove the reservoirs by draining the water or seeks to kill mosquito larvae in the water using chemical or biological larvicides to decrease mosquito prevalence, thus decreasing malaria prevalence.

The research team conducted studies across 13 different regions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Europe in a variety of ecosystems. LSM was found to be most effective in small bodies of water. More research must be done to find a method that is effective for areas with larger swamps or rice paddies, as LSM was not effective in these areas.