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In general, the most effective means of malaria vector control is the killing of adult mosquitoes with a residual insecticide applied to bednets or sprayed on house walls and ceilings. Major reductions in all-cause child mortality have been achieved in Africa by these means. In some circumstances, personal protection and larval control may also make a contribution. We discuss the prospects of genetic control by release of sterile male mosquitoes or driving genes for refractoriness to malaria into wild populations. Many major malaria vectors belong to complexes of sibling species which differ in vectorial and biological characteristics. Distinguishing the species by cytogenetic or molecular methods is important for epidemiological studies and could improve the targeting of control.