Curtain raiser

Ways to prevent skin ulcers

Published: Wednesday 15 January 2003

a curtain merely treated with insecticide can help save your life. A recent study shows that using curtains treated with insecticide can reduce the incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis (cl) -- a disease that has fatal, debilitating and/or deforming consequences in the form of skin ulcers.

The disease is caused by the leishmania parasite. At least two million cases of leishmaniasis are reported annually, primarily in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sudan and Brazil. The parasite is transmitted to humans and other mammals through infected sandflies. Recently, researchers from the Liverpool-based School of Tropical Medicine, the Venezuela-based Universidad de los Andes and the uk-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, conducted a study to determine if curtains treated with insecticides reduced the number of sandflies inside homes.

The study was carried out of in an area of Trujillo city of Venezuela, which records very intense transmission of the disease. Over a period of 12 months, the researchers assessed the efficacy of the curtains. The study area consisted of 239 houses using polyester curtains treated with lamdacyhalothrin insecticide, 220 houses using non-treated curtains and 106 houses not using curtains at all.

The analysis showed there was a significant reduction in the abundance of sandflies in houses using treated curtains as compared to those that were not using the treated curtains. Moreover, the treated curtains had no side affects. Therefore, the researchers concluded that curtains treated with insecticide provide a high degree of protection against indoor transmission of cl by sandflies. They also are cost-effective.

The results of the study are supported by another research conducted in a Colombian village, during which bednets treated with deltamethrin insecticide were used to control the transmission of cl. Even the bednets were able to effectively control the menace of sandflies inside homes.

Use insecticide-treated curtains
Mean number of sandflies in some houses using treated curtains Mean number of sandflies in some houses not using treated curtains
Starting of the study End of the study (after 12 months) Starting of the study End of the study (after 12 months)
34 6 28 29
15 2 19 19
8 <1 4 5
18 3 18 19
9 2 8 9
7 1 12 12
37 5 20 20
Source: British Medical Journal, Vol 325, October 12, 2002

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