Case report: The role of spatial repellant devices to prevent malaria in low-income countries

Giovanni Cucchiaro, Jamie van Leeuwen, Yvette Goodridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. The role of spatial repellent devices in preventing malaria is controversial. The goal of this study was to evaluate the populations' acceptability of a newly designed insecticide diffuser. We distributed to three families living in southern Uganda a device commercially available, the VAPE® portable set. This spatial repellent device offers several advantages compared with other traditional products. It is powered by lithium batteries that guarantee 20 days of uninterrupted delivery of insecticide; it contains two insecticides: empenthrin and transfluthrin; and it is simple to use, one switch to turn it “on” and/or “off.” It is odorless, and it can be placed anywhere in the living/sleeping area. People can also carry it outside the house. We planned to evaluate people's compliance with its usage, its reliability, and its overall costs. We conducted a 5-month survey. We distributed the devices to three households, one device per bedroom. Ten males and 11 females, with a mean age of 26 ± 16 (range 10-51) years, lived in these houses. The compliance with the use of the device and its acceptability were high. No side effects were reported. No individual contracted malaria during the 5-month period. The major obstacle we found was the timely delivery of the devices to the evaluation area and initial compliance with the instructions on how to use the device. Larger randomized studies are needed to clarify whether there is a role for this type of spatial repellent devices in the global efforts to prevent malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1033-1036
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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