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House modifications for preventing malaria

Fox, Tilly, Furnival-Adams, Joanna, Chaplin, Martha, Napier, Mark and Olanga, Evelyn A (2022) 'House modifications for preventing malaria'. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Vol 10, CD013398.

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Malaria remains an important public health problem. Research in 1900 suggested house modifications may reduce malaria transmission. A previous version of this review concluded that house screening may be effective in reducing malaria. This update includes data from five new studies.

To assess the effects of house modifications that aim to reduce exposure to mosquitoes on malaria disease and transmission.

Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register; Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), published in the Cochrane Library; MEDLINE (PubMed); Embase (OVID); Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CAB) Abstracts (Web of Science); and the Latin American and Caribbean Health Science Information database (LILACS) up to 25 May 2022. We also searched the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform,, and the ISRCTN registry to identify ongoing trials up to 25 May 2022.

Selection criteria
Randomized controlled trials, including cluster‐randomized controlled trials (cRCTs), cross‐over studies, and stepped‐wedge designs were eligible, as were quasi‐experimental trials, including controlled before‐and‐after studies, controlled interrupted time series, and non‐randomized cross‐over studies.

We sought studies investigating primary construction and house modifications to existing homes reporting epidemiological outcomes (malaria case incidence, malaria infection incidence or parasite prevalence). We extracted any entomological outcomes that were also reported in these studies.

Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently selected eligible studies, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. We used risk ratios (RR) to compare the effect of the intervention with the control for dichotomous data. For continuous data, we presented the mean difference; and for count and rate data, we used rate ratios. We presented all results with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We assessed the certainty of evidence using the GRADE approach.

Main results
One RCT and six cRCTs met our inclusion criteria, with an additional six ongoing RCTs. We did not identify any eligible non‐randomized studies. All included trials were conducted in sub‐Saharan Africa since 2009; two randomized by household and four at the block or village level. All trials assessed screening of windows, doors, eaves, ceilings, or any combination of these; this was either alone, or in combination with roof modification or eave tube installation (an insecticidal "lure and kill" device that reduces mosquito entry whilst maintaining some airflow). In one trial, the screening material was treated with 2% permethrin insecticide. In five trials, the researchers implemented the interventions. A community‐based approach was adopted in the other trial.

Overall, the implementation of house modifications probably reduced malaria parasite prevalence (RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.82; 5 trials, 5183 participants; moderate‐certainty evidence), although an inconsistent effect was observed in a subpopulation of children in one study. House modifications reduced moderate to severe anaemia prevalence (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.89; 3 trials, 3643 participants; high‐certainty evidence). There was no consistent effect on clinical malaria incidence, with rate ratios ranging from 0.38 to 1.62 (3 trials, 3365 participants, 4126.6 person‐years). House modifications may reduce indoor mosquito density (rate ratio 0.63, 95% CI 0.30 to 1.30; 4 trials, 9894 household‐nights; low‐certainty evidence), although two studies showed little effect on this parameter.

Authors' conclusions
House modifications – largely screening, sometimes combined with insecticide and lure and kill devices – were associated with a reduction in malaria parasite prevalence and a reduction in people with anaemia. Findings on malaria incidence were mixed. Modifications were also associated with lower indoor adult mosquito density, but this effect was not present in some studies.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 765 Prevention and control
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House modifications for preventing malaria
House modifications for preventing malaria
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Christianne Esparza
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 10:35
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2022 10:37


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