Do mosquito coils prevent malaria

Added January 12, 2017

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There is no evidence that burning insecticide containing mosquito coils prevent malaria acquisition.

Malaria infects around 5% of world population and causes approximately 1 million deaths each year. Official guidelines often recommend burning mosquito coils as an effective means to prevent disease. Although inexpensive, it is argued that burning gases may affect persons with breathing problems and airway irritation. However, little is known about their potential effect on human health. The objectives of this study were 1) to discover if insecticide containing mosquito coils prevent mosquito bite and malaria acquisition and 2) if adverse effects are safe in human users.  Of the 15 trials identified, 12 studied the efficacy of mosquito coils against anopheline mosquitoes and 11 did so in a field setting. Regarding outcomes, 14 trials studied mosquito bite reduction, 7 studied repellence, 5 deterrence, 5 knockdown, and 7 looked at percentage of mosquito mortality. Of the total outcomes reported (38), anti mosquito efficacy was reported positive for more than 95%. No studies reported clinical malaria as an outcome. Regarding human effects, only one reported irritation of the eyes and nose after exposure to burning coils with pyrethrins. However, the natural history and etiology was not studied.