Using insecticides to treat walls, bednets, bedsheets or curtains is known to prevent malaria, but may also be effective at preventing leishmaniasis according to a systematic review carried out by an international team of researchers working with the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group at LSTM.
Although, only a limited number of trials were available, the researchers found promising evidence that insecticides used in these ways reduced the incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in urban areas of Afghanistan, Iran and Venezuela.
“Although these results are promising, it is difficult to generalise the findings due to the limited number of study sites” said Dr Urbà González from Barcelona, the lead author of the review. “It is also impossible to know which of these methods is the most effective, and much bigger and better trials would be needed to know if they were also effective against the more severe form of the disease which affects the internal organs”.
The review, published this week, included 14 randomised control trials, which all had some methodological problems limiting the review authors’ confidence in the findings, and the review was unable to comment on the potential adverse effects of using insecticides widely as these were not evaluated by any of the trials
The full review is available here.