Seasonal variation in the proportion of the population using an insecticide-treated net (ITN) is well documented and is widely believed to be dependent on mosquito abundance and heat, driven by rainfall and temperature. However, seasonal variation in ITN use has not been quantified controlling for ITN access. Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey datasets, their georeferenced data, and public rainfall and climate layers were pooled for 21 countries. Nine rainfall typologies were developed from rainfall patterns in Köppen climate zones. For each typology, the odds of ITN use among individuals with access to an ITN within their households ("ITN use given access") were estimated for each month of the year, controlling for region, wealth quintile, residence, year, temperature, and malaria parasitemia level. Seasonality of ITN use given access was observed over all nine rainfall typologies and was most pronounced in arid climates and less pronounced where rainfall was relatively constant throughout the year. Peak ITN use occurred 1-3 months after peak rainfall and corresponded with peak malaria incidence and average malaria transmission season. The observed lags between peak rainfall and peak ITN use given access suggest that net use is triggered by mosquito density. In equatorial areas, ITN use is likely to be high year-round, given the presence of mosquitoes and an associated year-round perceived malaria risk. These results can be used to inform behavior change interventions to improve ITN use in specific times of the year and to inform geospatial models of the impact of ITNs on transmission.
Quantifying seasonal variation in insecticide-treated net use among those with access