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Modern housing has been shown to be associated with a reduced risk of malarial infection in children in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to more traditional thatched houses.

Modern housing and malaria

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Modern houses—with metal roofs and finished walls—are associated with a more than 9% reduction in the odds of malaria in children in sub-Saharan Africa when compared to more traditional thatched houses, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine by Lucy Tusting of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Durham University and the University of Southampton.

Insecticide-treated bednets and house spraying have been effective in reducing the prevalence of malaria since the turn of the 21st century, but other approaches are needed for sustainable elimination of the mosquito-transmitted, parasitic disease. Some evidence has suggested that modern houses may protect against the parasite but few studies have rigorously evaluated the association between improved housing and malaria risk. In the new work, researchers analysed data on malaria prevalence and housing using data collected in 29 surveys carried out in 21 African countries between 2008 and 2015. 

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