Malaria can be prevented mainly by controlling female Anopheles mosquitoes, known as vectors, that spread the disease. Vector control entails reducing the lifespan of the mosquito, and/or creating a physical or chemical screen between man and mosquito. An effective vaccine does not yet exist but there are several proven strategies to prevent malaria. These include:
Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with insecticide before each rainy season
Sleeping under an Insecticide-Treated Net (ITN), preferably a Long-Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) every night
Other prevention methods include larviciding, environmental management, personal protection measures, and fogging or area spraying
IRS and ITNs are more universally applicable and typically more effective than other methods. The World Health Organization recommends a strategy of Integrated Vector Management, which means tailoring a variety of preventive interventions to local context. The specific mix of these interventions depends on local factors, such as the type of mosquito and malaria parasite, climate, cost and available resources.
As with any infectious disease, prevention depends heavily on community-driven communication strategies. For IRS to be maximally effective, 80% of a target community must allow its homes to be sprayed. ITNs must be used properly every night and replaced when damaged or worn out. New LLINs, recommended by the World Health Organization, last several years.