Complementary vector control methods

Vector control is a fundamental element of the existing global strategy to fight malaria. Vector control strategies have a proven track record of successfully reducing or interrupting disease transmission when coverage is sufficiently high. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are the two most important vector control measures that protect humans from the bite of malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

In specific settings and under special circumstances, these core vector control interventions can be complemented by other methods, such as larval source management (including habitat modification, habitat manipulation, larviciding, and biological control), and a scale-up of personal protection measures. In all settings, malaria vector control may also be facilitated by improvements in housing which make human habitation less hospitable to local mosquitoes.

Larval source management

Larval habitats vary markedly among Anopheles mosquito species, and control measures directed towards larvae are highly location- and ecology-specific. Larviciding, for example, is only recommended for areas where mosquito breeding sites are few, fixed, findable, and where the sites are easy to identify, map and treat. These interventions can be particularly useful in urban and peri-urban areas, but they are unlikely to be effective in rural Africa, where mosquito breeding sites are innumerable, shifting, and widely dispersed.

Reports received from national malaria control programmes indicate that 27 malaria-endemic countries worldwide use larval control in certain specific foci of malaria transmission. Larval control through chemical larviciding has been reported by 16 countries, while biological larviciding activities have been reported from 13 countries. Currently, 10 compounds and formulations are recommended by WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) for larval control. The WHO position statement on larviciding in sub-Saharan Africa (2012) is linked from this page.

Personal protection measures

A scale-up of personal protection measures (in addition to the use of LLINs, which also serve this function) is also recommended to reduce human-mosquito contact. These measures may include window screens, insecticide treated hammocks, repellents, and protective clothing.

Last update: 6 March 2013

Key documents