Efficacy and community-effectiveness of insecticide treated nets for the control of visceral leishmaniasis: A systematic review

Publication Name

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has been targeted for elimination from Southeast Asia (SEA). The disease has been endemic in SEA, and in other parts of the world involving both humans and animals. One of the key strategies for combating VL is controlling for the vector sandfly. There are a few vector control strategies that are currently in practice. We sought to assess the efficacy and community effectiveness of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) in controlling the burden of sandfly and the occurrence of VL among humans. We conducted a systematic review following a study protocol and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) criteria. 6331 initial hits were retrieved from Google Scholar, Lilacs, PubMed, Science Direct, WHOlis, WHOiris and PAHOiris. 25 met the full inclusion criteria. Findings show that the insecticide impregnated bednets and the commercially treated long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are effective in controlling sandflies, with mortalities as high as 75% lasting over a year; although their role in controlling VL in the community was not extensively studied, since effectiveness was usually measured with sandflies densities. Findings also show that insecticide impregnated bednets are low cost and well accepted in the community, however, early erosion of insecticides from nets could occur. Some studies also showed that killing of sandflies may not translate into reduction of VL, therefore sandfly knock down and killing data needs to be interpreted with caution. Conclusions of this review are (1) combining insecticide impregnated bednets, as targeted interventions, with another vector control measure, particularly indoor residual spraying, and in conjunction with case detection, could be the way forward to controlling VL in resource limited settings. (2) Given the current low incidence of VL in SEA, it can be difficult to further research the community effectiveness of those control measures in reducing VL.

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

World Health Organization



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