Are mosquitoes beating us in the fight against malaria?
A new report has been released by the WHO to provide an update on the global malaria crisis and success of efforts to eradicate the disease.
Sadly, though as predicted – the report’s findings show that progress has slowed drastically in the last two years. So much so that malaria cases increased by 5 million between 2015 and 2016. In the same two years, the 24 countries with the highest burden of malaria (over 50,000 cases per year) have reported an increase in cases. Furthermore, with surveillance and diagnosis of the disease improving, it is becoming increasingly clear that we have been underestimating the global impact of malaria.
The report highlights the shortage of funding and resources allocated to eliminating this mosquito-borne disease, which has restricted the scale and impact of interventions. Though many projects are focused on supplying impregnated bed nets to communities, and insecticide spraying (Indoor Residual Spraying – IRS as it’s called) the disease will not be truly eliminated without the use of insect repellents, especially those containing PMD or other active ingredients that provide 100% effectiveness against both daytime & nighttime biting mosquitoes. The lack of attention given to insect repellent is a concern because evidence suggests that anti-malaria tablets – a widely used form of protection – are becoming less and less effective. In fact, it was only yesterday that I was speaking to a lady called Kate who told me that out of all her friends who had been travelling & using the anti-malarial tablets – 50% of them had contracted malaria. It remains true that the only way to avoid malaria – and any insect-borne disease – is to avoid all bites. This is because of the resistance mosquitoes are continually building to pesticides such as DEET & IRS
Last year I mentioned to Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of WHO, at the time, that it was important to talk about insect repellents rather than just “tools” if we’re seriously going to eradicate malaria & other insect borne disease. I will be writing to the new Director General to keep up the pressure. As Dr. Chan said at the Commons, malaria needs to be tackled with several strategies, simultaneously.
At incognito we are doing what we can to put these tools of personal protection into the hands of those who need it. We are in contact with organisations such as the WHO and the UN to deliver our incognito repellent products into malarial zones. The trouble is there is not enough funding, as the report illustrates, to distribute them in Africa.
As far as we know, incognito is the only insect repellent clinically tested to work 100% against malaria-carrying mosquitoes. A field study conducted by the British Medical Journal found that when the insect repellent PMD (aka Eucalyptus maculata citriodora) is used in conjunction with an impregnated mosquito net, it eradicates malaria. incognito uses one of the purest forms of PMD in incognito spray, roll-on and new suncream repellent, which recently was tested and achieved a complete protection time (CPT) of 5 hours: which is unheard of for a sunscreen insect repellent.
We also direct some of our charitable giving – we donate 10% of profits – into projects tackling malaria.
The reality is that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before malaria is eradicated, insecticide resistance is a big issue, while other man-made and natural reasons for the recent increase include higher rainfall and flooding, areas of conflict, and lack of qualified health staff in many of the worst affected countries. In order to eliminate the disease, we need to continue and increase current efforts, as well as investment in new technologies that deliver a multi-thronged approach so as to avoid further setbacks from insecticide and drug resistance
Howard Carter Biography
Howard Carter is one of the UK’s foremost bite prevention experts on mosquitoes and insects after contracting malaria and dengue in the same year. He is also an expert on avoiding tick bites.
Howard writes regularly on his own blog, and for the media in publications including The Times, Sunday Times, GQ, and peer reviewed journals.
Howard also has Youtube channels, which give up to date advice on insect bite avoidance. incognito® has won many awards including The Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainability, the PEA Award, and a Platinum Award for Best Natural Insect Repellent 6 years running.
Howard is an advisor for the UK government and a BBC pundit in the fight against Zika. He also lectures doctors and other health workers now that incognito’s active ingredient (PMD) is recommended by the NHS Public Health England, and NaTHNaC.