House screening with insecticide-treated netting provides sustained reductions in domestic populations of Aedes aegypti in Merida, Mexico
There is a need for effective methods to control Aedes aegypti and prevent the transmission of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. Insecticide treated screening (ITS) is a promising approach, particularly as it targets adult mosquitoes to reduce human-mosquito contact.
A cluster-randomised controlled trial evaluated the entomological efficacy of ITS based intervention, which consisted of the installation of pyrethroid-impregnated long-lasting insecticide-treated netting material fixed as framed screens on external doors and windows. A total of 10 treatment and 10 control clusters (100 houses/cluster) were distributed throughout the city of Merida, Mexico. Cross-sectional entomological surveys quantified indoor adult mosquito infestation at baseline (pre-intervention) and throughout four post-intervention (PI) surveys spaced at 6-month intervals corresponding to dry/rainy seasons over two years (2012-2014). A total of 844 households from intervention clusters (86% coverage) were protected with ITS at the start of the trial. Significant reductions in the indoor presence and abundance of Ae. aegypti adults (OR = 0.48 and IRR = 0.45, P<0.05 respectively) and the indoor presence and abundance of Ae. aegypti female mosquitoes (OR = 0.47 and IRR = 0.44, P<0.05 respectively) were detected in intervention clusters compared to controls. This high level of protective effect was sustained for up to 24 months PI. Insecticidal activity of the ITS material declined with time, with similar to 70% mortality being demonstrated in susceptible mosquito cohorts up to 24 months after installation.
The strong and sustained entomological impact observed in this study demonstrates the potential of house screening as a feasible, alternative approach to a sustained long-term impact on household infestations of Ae. aegypti. Larger trials quantifying the effectiveness of ITS on epidemiological endpoints are warranted and therefore recommended.