Comparison of three pyrethroid treatments of top-sheets for malaria control in emergencies: entomological and user acceptance studies in an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan

Med Vet Entomol. 2002 Jun;16(2):199-206. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2915.2002.00366.x.


Insecticide-treated bedding materials (sheets and blankets) could be protective against vectors of malaria and leishmaniasis--especially in complex emergencies, epidemics and natural disasters where people are more likely to sleep in exposed situations. Comparison of cotton top-sheets impregnated with different pyrethroids (permethrin 500 mg/m2, deltamethrin 25 mg/m2 or alphacypermethrin 25 mg/m2) for effectiveness against mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) was undertaken in a refugee camp in Pakistan. Predominant species encountered were Anopheles stephensi Liston, An. pulcherrimus Theobald, An. nigerrimus Giles, Culex quinquefasciatus Say, Cx. tritaeniorhynchus Giles and other culicine mosquitoes. All three pyrethroid treatments performed significantly better than the untreated sheets in deterrence and killing of mosquitoes. No significant differences were found between the three insecticides tested in terms of entomological effect. Washing of the treated sheets greatly reduced their effectiveness. In a user acceptance study conducted among 88 families (divided into four groups), six families complained of irritation of the skin and mucous membranes. Of these reports, one was from the placebo group (using untreated sheets) and the other five (5/22=23%) from families using deltamethrin-treated sheets. All families allocated to permethrin and alphacypermethrin groups declared an appreciation for the intervention and reported no side-effects. Ten of the placebo group disliked the intervention, citing no prevention of mosquito biting as the reason. Side-effects associated with deltamethrin indicate that alphacypermethrin and permethrin are more appropriate first choice insecticides for treatment of sheets and blankets.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan / ethnology
  • Animals
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Beds
  • Biological Assay
  • Bites and Stings
  • Culicidae / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors
  • Insecticides / adverse effects
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mosquito Control*
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Pyrethrins / adverse effects
  • Pyrethrins / pharmacology*
  • Refugees
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Insecticides
  • Pyrethrins