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The use of insecticide-impregnated bed nets prevents many deaths from malaria, even in areas with intense year-round transmission, according to a 2-year study in western Kenya.

The study provides the missing piece in a series of trials. Previous studies - held in Ghana, The Gambia, Burkino Faso and coastal Kenya - had shown that bed nets could save the lives of children, malaria’s main victims. But none of them took place in areas with extremely high, year-round transmission, such as western Kenya.

It is also an example of how a remarkably low-tech and relatively cheap intervention can have more impact than many snazzy scientific advances.

Reference: Science 294, 2271 (2001)

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