Implications of insecticide resistance for malaria vector control with long-lasting insecticidal nets: trends in pyrethroid resistance during a WHO-coordinated multi-country prospective study

Parasit Vectors. 2018 Oct 22;11(1):550. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-3101-4.


Background: Increasing pyrethroid resistance has been an undesirable correlate of the rapid increase in coverage of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) since 2000. Whilst monitoring of resistance levels has increased markedly over this period, longitudinal monitoring is still lacking, meaning the temporal and spatial dynamics of phenotypic resistance in the context of increasing ITN coverage are unclear.

Methods: As part of a large WHO-co-ordinated epidemiological study investigating the impact of resistance on malaria infection, longitudinal monitoring of phenotypic resistance to pyrethroids was undertaken in 290 clusters across Benin, Cameroon, India, Kenya and Sudan. Mortality in response to pyrethroids in the major anopheline vectors in each location was recorded during consecutive years using standard WHO test procedures. Trends in mosquito mortality were examined using generalised linear mixed-effect models.

Results: Insecticide resistance (using the WHO definition of mortality < 90%) was detected in clusters in all countries across the study period. The highest mosquito mortality (lowest resistance frequency) was consistently reported from India, in an area where ITNs had only recently been introduced. Substantial temporal and spatial variation was evident in mortality measures in all countries. Overall, a trend of decreasing mosquito mortality (increasing resistance frequency) was recorded (Odds Ratio per year: 0.79 per year (95% CI: 0.79-0.81, P < 0.001). There was also evidence that higher net usage was associated with lower mosquito mortality in some countries.

Discussion: Pyrethroid resistance increased over the study duration in four out of five countries. Insecticide-based vector control may be compromised as a result of ever higher resistance frequencies.

Keywords: Bednets; Bioassay; Insecticide resistance; Malaria; Trends; Vector control.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insecticide Resistance*
  • Insecticide-Treated Bednets
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Internationality
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Malaria / transmission
  • Mosquito Vectors / drug effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pyrethrins / pharmacology*
  • World Health Organization


  • Insecticides
  • Pyrethrins