Wearing clothes treated with the common insecticide permethrin can reduce the chances of malarial infection by 70 percent, says a new study.
The conclusion was arrived at after Elizabeth Kimani of the African Population and Health Research Center in Nairobi and other researchers studied Somalian refugees living in camps in Kenya.
The average household size in Kenya is 4.4 people, and only three percent of households have more than one treated net, reported the online edition of New Scientist.
So Kimani and her colleagues decided to investigate the extra personal protection offered by insecticide-treated clothes - a strategy already used to protect US military personnel operating in areas affected by malaria.
But Desmond Chavasse, global director of malaria control at Population Services International in Washington DC, US, a charity that works to improve healthcare in the developing world warned that the logistics would need further scrutiny.
"We've seen this before," said Chavasse.
"Spraying households with insecticides is at least as effective as bed nets, but it only works when 80 percent of a camp or village is sprayed in a timely fashion. In refugee camps you can control what people wear. How you would do that for the general public, I have no idea."