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An expert opinion: insecticide residual spraying, lessons from endemic regions in India

Indoor residual spraying as a vector control tool needs careful consideration. Dr Vijay Kumar discusses the role of this method in India.
VIJAY KUMAR: For the vector control we are using the integrated vector management - I call the IVM. There’s two or three methods - that is the chemical control, biological control, environmental management, and personal protection. The case of kala-azar vector control, which is a most problematic disease in India, particularly in Bihar. Which out of 38 districts, 34 districts are endemic for the kala-azar. So we are really using the chemical control now. Because in the case of vector of kala-azar it is very difficult to control the immature stages of the vector.
The main challenges are to make the proper solution. It is really important. Because if you are not making the proper solution, the dose will be not the exact dose required to kill the fly, sandfly. So this is very important. And training should be there to make the solution.
And how to spray on the walls, there are some definite guidelines of the government that it should be 18 inches from the wall, they should be sprayed. And the spray should be done from up to six feet height only on the walls. Another main challenge is to evaluate whether the dose they have sprayed on the wall, it is proper or not. We have the limited number of insecticides. And due to improper use of the insecticide, the insecticide is gradually developing resistance. So it is very high time to think about the vector management and how to use the insecticide properly.
So most of the time what happens, they don’t use the proper doses and they go into the house and just spray on the walls. And after spraying, after one day, or 10 days, or one week after they spray, we are getting the sandfly on the wall. So it is a waste is of money and time.

Another vector control option is the deployment of indoor residual spraying (IRS). Dr Kumar discusses the role of this method in a programme of integrated vector management.

IRS has revolutionised vector control and significantly contributed to the lowering vector-borne disease transmission. In the late 1950’s India almost succeeded in eliminating malaria by a rigorous control programme which included IRS with DDT. However, the mosquitoes developed resistance to the insecticide and malaria incidence rose.[1]

Dr Vijay Kumar (Senior Scientist on Vector Biology and Control from the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences in the Bihar state of India) speaks about some core challenges in application of IRS in India. In the step after this (Step 3.8) we will look at how to use IRS in a safe and proper manner.

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