Parents are sharing their stories of how their water is treating their children and getting rid of their mosquitoes.
Key points: Parents are talking about mosquito water after learning their children are getting treated for malaria.
Parents are sharing stories of mosquito water getting treated, but some parents are concerned the treatment is not being properly tested.
Many say they don’t feel safe with the treatment and are looking for alternatives.
Dr Simon Klem, a mosquito specialist at the Queensland University of Technology, said the treatment had not been tested for efficacy and was not recommended for children younger than six.
“It is not a proven treatment for children,” Dr Klem said.
“We have no data on the safety of this treatment, it does not appear to have any significant side effects on the environment.”
Dr Klem is a consultant in tropical diseases, including malaria, but said there were risks to people who drank it.
“The most important thing is that it is safe to drink and it is not toxic,” he said.
He said the water was tested for bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and other chemicals.
“I would not use it if you were not concerned about the chemicals and viruses it would be safe,” he added.
“You might have some allergic reaction, so it is important to test for it.”
“We don’t know what it is, it is being treated with chemicals that could be harmful to you.”
Dr Simon said some parents were worried the treatment was not being tested properly.
“In a lot of these cases, it’s not been properly tested because the person is not actually drinking the water,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“If you do find a child who has been exposed to the water, there might be some potential for harm, especially if they’ve had contact with people who might have had malaria.”
He said many of the parents who were sharing their experiences were not well informed about the treatments.
“They are not aware that they are not going to get the treatment, and if they do they don´t know what they’re going to be getting, so they might not be aware of what’s going on in the water treatment facility,” he explained.
Dr Klem said the problem with mosquito water was not the treatment itself, but how it was being treated.
“This is not going back to the old way of treating it, itís the way that the people who are taking it are treating it,” he advised.
Dr Klems research into malaria has found the water used for treating children in many areas has been contaminated by mosquitoes.
“There are lots of ways to get rid of mosquitoes, you can use pesticides, you could use herbicides, you have a lot more options than we think,” he noted.
“Some of these methods are known to kill mosquitoes, some of these are not.”
These are things that we don’t want to put into our children’s environment.””
It has a lot to do with the water quality and how it’s being treated.
“Dr Stephen Dickson, an infectious disease expert at the University of Sydney, said while the mosquito water should be used in conjunction with insect repellents, it was not always safe.”
If they are using mosquito water to treat their children, then it is very important that they also wash their hands, they should be using insect repelling, they need to be drinking lots of water, and they should have all of their other hygiene precautions in place,” he stated.”
What happens when they get to that point where they have to put on mosquito repellent is they get all of the bacteria and other microbes out of the water.
“He also said there could be other health risks to children, such as gastroenteritis or diarrhoea.
Dr Dickson said some children were drinking the treatment at home but it was likely it had been diluted by the water.”
When they go into the water for their first time, they may get diarrhoeas or gastroenteric issues, but the water will have some bacteria that can cause serious infections,” he suggested.
The Australian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends drinking the treated water as a preventive measure, as the treatment has been shown to reduce the risk of developing malaria.
Dr Wajahat Hussain, a researcher at the Department of Tropical Medicine at the College of Tropical and Tropical Medicine, said there was a link between the treatment used and the rate of infection.”
Our results suggest that children drinking untreated water will actually get a higher rate of malaria than those drinking water treated with mosquito repelling,” he revealed.
In the meantime, Dr Hussain advised parents to keep an eye on their children.”
Make sure they’re getting their water tested for any of these things, whether it’s the mosquitoes or the bacteria,” he stressed.”
Look out for any signs of illness.
“If you have questions about mosquito treatment, contact the Australian Centre For Disease Control on 1800