By Calvin Otieno
An online mapping system to track insecticide resistance in malaria-causing mosquitoes around the world has been launched.
The free interactive website identifies places in more than 50 malaria-endemic countries where mosquitoes have become resistant to the insecticides used in insecticidal bed nets and in mosquito repellent.
The mapping system was launched last month by Vestergaard Frandsen, a Swiss firm that makes disease-control products, and the KEMRI/CDC, a foundation for a variety of studies on public health.
Tessa Knox, a technical specialist at Vestergaard Frandsen, tells SciDev.Net that the website has both historical and current data on insecticide resistance in mosquitoes.
Users will access the interactive map to explore data and to generate tailored maps, she says.
The website consolidates all public information on insecticide resistance in malaria vectors.
The data were gotten from scientific articles and reports as well as from IRBase, an existing database of insecticide resistance.
There is a wealth of information on insecticide resistance in different databases and the volume is increasing rapidly, making it difficult to harmonise and interpret this data.
The new website, says Knox, combines all the information in a timely manner and presents it in a user-friendly format.
The tool already contains published data on insecticide-susceptibility and resistance mechanisms going back to 1959. Further, additional comprehensive data to fill gaps will be added each month once it has been extracted by a researcher and passed a quality check carried out by KEMRI/CDC.
Although the site is accessible to all, most users are likely to be decision-makers for mosquito-control strategies and policies, research scientists and those involved in vector-control product development, Knox says.
IR Mapper, in line with recommendations by the WHO, helps to inform the development and deployment of vector-control tools, guide the development of insecticide-resistance management plans, prioritise areas for insecticide-resistance monitoring, identify sites for operational research and earmark areas for distribution of novel tools, she says.
This article was originally published on Scidev.net