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Comparative study of the topical effectiveness of the Andiroba oil (Carapa guianensis) and DEET 50% as repellent for Aedes sp


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DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is nowadays the most effective mosquito repellent available, however, its use can present some topical and systemic side effects. Some botanical compositions, as Andiroba (Carapa guianensis), have been proved repellent properties at low cost and toxicity. An experimental study was driven involving four volunteers submitting their forearms covered with Andiroba oil at 100%, DEET 50%, refined soy oil, Andiroba oil 15% and in the absence of products, directly to healthy females of Aedes sp. The times of first and third bites were checked. The results showed that the median of the first bite without any product was 17.5s and the third bite, 40.0s. In the soy oil, the bites happened in 60.0s and 101.5s, in the presence of Andiroba oil 100%, in 56.0s and 142.5s and in Andiroba oil 15%, in 63.0s and 97.5s. The volunteers using DEET 50% had not received bites after 3600s in most of the experiments (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon). Pure Andiroba oil compared to the soy oil, forearm without product and Andiroba oil 15%, showed discreet superiority (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon). Our conclusion is that this study demonstrated that the pure Andiroba oil presents discreet repellent effect against bite of Aedes sp., being significantly inferior to DEET 50%.
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Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo
46(5):253-256, September-October, 2004
(1) Departamento de Dermatologia e Radioterapia. Faculdade de Medicina de Botucatu, Universidade Estadual Paulista, São Paulo state, Brazil.
(2) Departamento de Parasitologia do Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Campus de Botucatu, Universidade Estadual Paulista, São Paulo State, Brazil.
Correspondence to: Hélio Amante Miot, Departamento de Dermatologia FMB-UNESP, Rubião Junior, 18618-000 Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil. Phone/fax: 055 14 3882 4922.
Carapa guianensis
Hélio Amante MIOT(1), Rafaelle Fernandes BATISTELLA(1), Khristiani de Almeida BATISTA(1), Dimas Eduardo Carneiro VOLPATO(1),
Leonardo Silveira Teixeira AUGUSTO(1), Newton Goulart MADEIRA(2), Vidal HADDAD Jr.(1) & Luciane Donida Bartoli MIOT(1)
DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is nowadays the most effective mosquito repellent available, however, its use can present
some topical and systemic side effects. Some botanical compositions, as Andiroba (Carapa guianensis), have been proved repellent
properties at low cost and toxicity. An experimental study was driven involving four volunteers submitting their forearms covered
with Andiroba oil at 100%, DEET 50%, refined soy oil, Andiroba oil 15% and in the absence of products, directly to healthy females
of Aedes sp. The times of first and third bites were checked. The results showed that the median of the first bite without any product
was 17.5s and the third bite, 40.0s. In the soy oil, the bites happened in 60.0s and 101.5s, in the presence of Andiroba oil 100%, in
56.0s and 142.5s and in Andiroba oil 15%, in 63.0s and 97.5s. The volunteers using DEET 50% had not received bites after 3600s in
most of the experiments (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon). Pure Andiroba oil compared to the soy oil, forearm without product and Andiroba oil
15%, showed discreet superiority (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon). Our conclusion is that this study demonstrated that the pure Andiroba oil
presents discreet repellent effect against bite of Aedes sp., being significantly inferior to DEET 50%.
KEYWORDS: Aedes; Insect repellent; DEET; Andiroba.
The diseases transmitted by insects continue as the main source of
infectious diseases and death for infect-contagious diseases all over the
world. Only mosquitoes transmit diseases for more than 700 million
people each year
Protection against bites of arthropods is reached avoiding recognized
infested areas, knowing the habits and schedules of the insects, dressing
protecting clothes and using repellents. In some occasions, the use of
repellent is the only measure of possible protection, for an individual,
when applied in the skin and in the clothes, or for environmental
protection, when liberated in a restrict ambient
Malaria, dengue, yellow fever, elephantiasis (wuchereriosis),
leishmaniasis, some forms of encephalitis, Chagas disease, pemphigus,
strophulus and anaphylaxis are examples of diseases that could be
prevented with the use of repellent of mosquitos
The DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is the most effective
and studied repellent available. This substance has an excellent protection
profile all over the world after more than 40 years of use, but it can cause
toxic reactions (usually if used in incorrect way)
The massive use of DEET in the risk populations for those entities is
limited by the cutaneous irritation and toxicity derived of the systemic
absorption, mainly in children and pregnant women. Their adverse effects
include irritant contact dermatitis, allergic reactions or signs of
neurological or cardiovascular toxicity, as ataxy, encephalopathy,
hypotension and bradicardy
DEET can also be removed by the perspiration or rain, and its
effectiveness diminished in a significant way in high temperatures. It is
also an organic solvent capable to dissolve or to damage plastics, glasses
of clocks, glasses frames and some synthetic cloths
The research for the development of the perfect topic repellent has
been a continuous scientific objective for many years, but it still has to
be reached. The ideal repellent should repel multiple species of
arthropods, to stay effective for, at least, eight hours, not to cause any
irritation to the skin or mucous membranes, not to possess any systemic
toxicity, to be resistant to the water and the abrasion, and to be no greasy
and without odor, in other words, to be cosmetically attractive
The discovery of botanical compositions derived of plants with
repellent properties (as citronella, Andiroba, melissa, geranium,
eucalyptus, soy, rosemary among others) woke up the scientific
MIOT, H.A.; BATISTELLA, R.F.; BATISTA, K.A.; VOLPATO, D.E.C.; AUGUSTO, L.S.T.; MADEIRA, N.G.; HADDAD Jr., V. & MIOT, L.D.B. - Comparative study of the topical effectiveness
of the andiroba oil (Carapa guianensis) and DEET 50% as repellent for Aedes sp. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo, 46(5):253-256, 2004.
community’s interest for their low cost and toxicity. None of the derived
chemists of plants tested up to now demonstrated the wide effectiveness
and duration of DEET, but some presented important experimental
repellent activities
Some studies verified antifeedant properties of the Andiroba (Carapa
guianensis) in the candle form, that when burned by 48 hours protects
100% in closed ambient of up to 27 ± 10 m
against bites of Aedes
aegypti. Moreover, there is need of more studies about the effect of topical
Andiroba as individual protection
Because of the recent dengue epidemic in Brazil, sanitary authorities
are concerned in developing measures of control and prevention of the
disease and the development of an effective repellent against the Aedes
sp. that can have massive use in the population, without toxicity risk and
of low cost, could provide important impact in the casuistry and mortality
of the dengue in the country.
This study compares the effectiveness of topical Andiroba oil 100%
on the skin in relation to the lotion of DEET 50% against bites of
Aedes sp.
An experimental intervention study, controlled, was accomplished
at the Laboratory of Creation of Mosquitoes of the Departamento de
Parasitologia at Instituto de Biociências-Universidade Estadual Paulista
of Botucatu (São Paulo State, Brazil).
One hundred-twenty healthy adult females of Aedes sp. (Fig. 1) were
selected and divided in four transparent nurseries of plastic with 5.5
liters each for the tests.
The mosquitoes were kept alive feed with glucose 5% solution, with
no blood supply for at least 24h before experiments and restored
periodically in case of loss.
Four healthy volunteers submitted their forearms, covered or not for the
test products, to bites of females of Aedes sp. in five different days. The time
until the first and third bites was measured in seconds. The measure was
interrupted at the third bite or until the limit of 3600 seconds. The hands and
fists were covered by latex gloves (Fig. 2) and the temperature, illumination
and humidity of the ambient were maintained constant.
We tested as negative controls: refined soy oil, Andiroba oil to 15%
and the forearm without products; as positive control lotion of DEET
50% (Exposis
, Osler Laboratory, Brazil); and the substance tests: oil of
Andiroba 100% (manipulation medical drugstore, Brazil).
We still analyzed the results among different volunteers to compare
the individual factors of susceptibility to bites. The paired results of
each experiment were compared by the Wilcoxon test. The measures of
the variability among the volunteers were compared through the Kruskal-
Wallis test. Data were tabulated and analyzed through the software
Bioestat 2.0™, adopted as significant p < 0.05
Each volunteer accomplished six experiments comparing pairs of
products in each forearm (Fig. 3). The median (± standard deviation) of
the first bite in the arm without product was 17.5s (± 60.2s) and the third
bite, 40.0s (± 92.9s).
The distributions of the volunteers’ measures are showed in the Figure
4, being verified a significant interpersonal difference (p < 0.001 Kruskal-
Wallis). With the use of the Soy oil, the first bite happened in 60.0s
81.0s) and the third, in 101.5s (± 175.5s).
The use of Andiroba oil 100% produced the first bite in 56.0s
1092.7s) and the third, in 142.5s (± 1264.5s). With the Andiroba oil
15%, the first bite was in 63.0s (± 789.5s) and the third, in 97.5s
(± 1296.5s).
The positive control (DEET 50%) supplied the first bite in 3600s
332.0s) and the third in 3600s (± 227.6s). In other words, in most of
the experiments the mosquitoes did not bite after one hour.
Fig. 2 - Voluntary forearm submitted to bites of Aedes sp.
Fig. 1 - Aedes aegypti (adult female).
MIOT, H.A.; BATISTELLA, R.F.; BATISTA, K.A.; VOLPATO, D.E.C.; AUGUSTO, L.S.T.; MADEIRA, N.G.; HADDAD Jr., V. & MIOT, L.D.B. - Comparative study of the topical effectiveness
of the andiroba oil (Carapa guianensis) and DEET 50% as repellent for Aedes sp. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo, 46(5):253-256, 2004.
The times of the lotion of DEET 50% compared with all the other
products demonstrated significant superiority (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon).
When the Andiroba oil 100% was tested comparatively to the soy
oil, the arm without product and Andiroba oil 15%, it demonstrated
discreet superiority (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon).
We observed the death of some mosquitoes after the introduction of
the forearms impregnated by DEET 50%, inferring a light insecticide
action, besides repellent, by DEET.
In spite of the intense research for the development of new repellent
of mosquitoes, DEET stays as the most potent, however, maintaining a
delicate profile of safety and tolerability for massive use in populations.
During this experiment no cutaneous or systemic adverse effects were
described by the use of DEET in the forearms, in spite of the notable
insecticide odor.
Pure Andiroba oil (100%) showed a superior profile of repellence
compared to the product absence, what reiterates the discoveries of the
researches involving the repellence of Andiroba candle. However, its
time of repellent effect was remarkably inferior to DEET 50%.
Those positive results, but of low potency, are repeated in studies of
other botanical essences as the citronella and the eucalyptus
, but as
insects are important in the pollination phase of most of the plants, it is
unlikely that some vegetable species had survived the natural selection
process once their repellent effect, at least in vivo, would be so potent.
No experiment published in the literature, until the present, had told
the light insecticide effect of DEET 50%, such phenomenon called
“knock-down” was described just by the use of pyretroids impregnated
in the clothes or bed nets
Several individual and environmental factors are involved in the risk
of bites of mosquitoes. Mainly the corporal temperature, exhalation of
and ammonia, presence of skin eczema, percentage of exposed
corporal area and exhaled odors; also environment temperature, humid
climate, concentration of mosquitoes and alimentary state of the females
contribute to insect attraction
. Such factors of individual susceptibility
determine a significant variability in the times of bites among the
volunteers, and in different moments they can answer for the great
variability among each participant’s measures.
The concentration of mosquitoes in the nurseries is quite superior
the any conventional situation of the nature (about five mosquitoes for
liter of air) what accelerates the time of the bites and it optimizes the
experiment, not allowing, however, extrapolating such values for the
use in open ambient.
The study demonstrated that the pure Andiroba oil presents discreet
repellent effect against bite of Aedes sp., being significantly inferior to
DEET 50%.
There was not measured the efficacy of the association of Andiroba
and DEET, or the use of Andiroba oil as DEET vehicle with the aim to
reduce the concentration and the risk of toxicity of DEET, without lack
of its repellence.
There is also a need for more controlled field studies to evaluate the
repellent effects of botanical compounds and the epidemiological impact
of its use by populations at risk.
Estudo comparativo da eficácia tópica do óleo de andiroba
(Carapa guianensis) e DEET 50% como repelente para Aedes sp
O DEET (N, N-dietil-3-metilbenzamida) é hoje o repelente mais
efetivo disponível, porém, seu uso pode apresentar importantes efeitos
colaterais tópicos e sistêmicos. Alguns compostos botânicos, como a
Andiroba (Carapa guianensis), têm demonstrado propriedades repelentes
a um baixo custo e baixa toxicidade. Quatro voluntários hígidos
submeteram seus antebraços recobertos com óleo de Andiroba a 100%,
DEET 50% (controle positivo), óleo de soja refinado, óleo de Andiroba
15% e na ausência de produtos (controles negativos), diretamente a
Fig. 3 - Distribution of the times (in seconds) among the first (1) and the third (3) bites of
Aedes sp. for diverse products.
Fig. 4 - Distribution of the times (in seconds), among the volunteers (Volunt A, B, C and D),
of the first (1) and the third (3) bites of Aedes sp. in the forearms without any product.
MIOT, H.A.; BATISTELLA, R.F.; BATISTA, K.A.; VOLPATO, D.E.C.; AUGUSTO, L.S.T.; MADEIRA, N.G.; HADDAD Jr., V. & MIOT, L.D.B. - Comparative study of the topical effectiveness
of the andiroba oil (Carapa guianensis) and DEET 50% as repellent for Aedes sp. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo, 46(5):253-256, 2004.
picadas de fêmeas saudáveis de Aedes sp. Foram aferidos os tempos da
primeira e terceira picadas. Os resultados mostraram que a mediana da
primeira picada nos antebraços sem produto foi 17.5s e a terceira picada,
40.0s. No óleo de soja, as picadas ocorreram em 60.0s e 101.5s. No óleo
de Andiroba 100%, em 56.0s e 142.5s. Com Andiroba 15%, em 63.0s e
97.5s. Usando DEET 50% não houve picadas após 3600s na maioria
dos experimentos (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon). O óleo de Andiroba 100%
comparado ao óleo de soja, antebraço sem produto e óleo de Andiroba
15%, mostrou discreta superioridade (p < 0.001 Wilcoxon). Concluímos
que o óleo puro de Andiroba apresenta efeito repelente discreto contra
picada de Aedes sp., sendo significativamente inferior ao DEET 50%.
The authors are thankful to the editor and referees for important
contributions to this paper.
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Received: 29 March 2004
Accepted: 16 August 2004
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... The essential oil extracted from C. guianensis is used industrially in the production of candles, shampoos, soaps and repellents (Pastore Junior & Borges, 1998;. Studies have reported several effects produced by this plant, such as antiallergic and analgesic (Penido et al., 2006a), acaricidal action (Farias et al., 2009), anti-inflammatory effect (Penido et al., 2006b) and insect repellent action (Miot et al., 2004;Mendonca et al., 2005). In addition, tea made from the C. guianensis bark and flowers is used both as an anthelmintic and as a curative agent in humans (Boufleuer, 2004 According to Henriques & Penido (2014), C. guianensis it is used in popular medicine in Brazil and other countries that abandon the Amazon rainforest. ...
A Carapa guianensis, conhecida popularmente como andiroba, pertence à família das plantas Meliaceae. O óleo extraído da semente da andiroba é espesso, de cor amarelo-escura, e é utilizado como matéria-prima para iluminação de lamparinas e na indústria de cosméticos para fabricação de loções, xampus, cremes e sabonetes. Além disso, a andiroba também possui atributos terapêuticos e farmacológicos, com propriedades genotóxicas, anti-helmínticas, cicatrizantes, tripanocidas, leishmanicidas, repelentes, larvicidas, antialérgicas, anti-inflamatórias, acaricidas, antimaláricas, antioxidantes e antitumorais. O presente trabalho revisou as propriedades médicas, terapêuticas e farmacológicas de Carapa guianensis. Quanto à atividade genotóxica, não foi encontrada toxicidade ao DNA dos animais testados. Os compostos responsáveis pela atividade curativa no óleo de semente foram tanininos, saponinas e alcalóides. Não foram encontrados compostos responsáveis pela atividade tripanocida. Os compostos responsáveis pela atividade leishmanicida foram ácidos graxos e compostos fenólicos. Não foram encontrados compostos responsáveis pela atividade repelente e larvicida. Tetranortriterpenóides foram considerados responsáveis pela atividade anti-alérgica e anti-inflamatória. Não foram encontrados compostos responsáveis pela atividade acaricida. 6α- acetoxiquedunina foi o composto responsável pela atividade antimalárica. Na atividade antioxidante e antitumoral do óleo de semente não foram encontrados compostos envolvidos.
... Too are reported in the literature the effect of the andiroba oil as a repellent against Aedes aegypti (De Mendonça et al., 2005) (Miot et al., 2004). Prophiro (Prophiro et al., 2012a) found that the residual larvicidal effect of from C. guianensis oil in 72 h showed 100 % of mortality for Ae. ...
This paper report the use of Carapa guianensis Abul. (Meliaceae) oil and derivates [fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE's) and free fatty acid (FFA's)] associate with silk fibroin (SF), and its activity against the larvae of the vector Aedes aegypti. The emulsions FFA2-SF derived from AO2, that mostly contained unsaturated fatty acids, presented the best results against the larvae of Ae. aegypti after a 48 h period (LC 50 = 16.79 mg.mL − 1), causing structural alterations to the vector. It is suggested that the biopolymeric matrix of silk fibroin increases the biodistribution and bioavailability of active in medium aqueous. This is the first work of its type which has pointed larvicidal activity of the free fatty acid from C. guianensis, associate with silk fibroin against Aedes aegypti.
... The exclusion of the studies was due to the fact that they did not use the focused intervention, 9 because they were not with the A. aegypti mosquito and/or some of the 3 active ones; 6 because they were not clinical trials, 1 without time description, and another study that was not performed in humans. There were 18 studies that met all eligibility criteria and were included in the systematic review [15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] (Fig. 1). ...
Objective This systematic review aims to determine the efficacy of the insect repellent for topical use against the Aedes aegypti. Methods A systematic search was conducted until June 2018 using the following terms: “Aedes aegypti,” “topical repellents,” “picaridin,” “DEET,” and “IR3535.” The quality of the study was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist. Results The most effective asset was 80% DEET with 420-minute protection time but used at a very high concentration, with risks of adverse effects, followed by 20% picaridin with protection time of 410.4 minutes, 20% DEET with protection time greater than 380 minutes, 15% IR3535 with protection time of 362 minutes, 10% IR3535 with 356-minute protection time, and 10% picaridin with protection time of 351.5 minutes. Conclusions Because of the results found here, it is recommended to carry out new studies to compare the performance of repellent with reliability. Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The oral mucositis is a mucosal alteration that usually arises from oncological treatments, such as chemotherapy, and it is characterized as an inflammatory process. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the chromatographic constitution of Andiroba oil, comparing and evaluating Andiroba oil and laser scarring efficiency in treatments of oral mucositis in hamsters. These animals were submitted to 5-Fluorouracil. A total of 122 animals were used, randomized and divided into the following groups: (a) positive control; (b) laser associated to andiroba oil; (c) laser; (d) andiroba oil; (e) negative control; (f) cyclophosphamide (genotoxicity control). The induction of oral mucositis occurred by the administration of intraperitoneal Fluorouracila (60 mg/kg) and trauma to the mucosa. The laser protocol was performed once a day and the andiroba oil applied 3 times a day (1,5 ml/day). The mucosae were photographed and removed for clinical and histopathological analysis on day 4, 8, 12 and 15. The analysis was based in OM severity, in specific scoring for the clinical and histopathological aspect. Toxicity was evaluated on day 15 using comet assay and it was performed by variant DNA damage parameters. The data were analysed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) Tukey post-test and Kruskal-Wallis Dunn post-test. The "andiroba oil" and "laser" groups presented better results when compared to the control groups and the treatment associations. The andiroba oil presented the best scarring results, even considering its efficiency proximity to the laser treatment. Andiroba and laser, separately, did not present genotoxicity, however their association evidences damage to DNA.
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A comparison of 5 commercial mosquito repellents was made on adult male and female volunteers in laboratory trials. The products tested in forms of cream or lotion included 4 natural oil formulations (containing citronella, clover, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, peppermint, sandalwood, thyme, etc.) and 1 synthetic chemical repellent containing 10% KBR 3023). Natural oil products showed essentially poor or no repellency against Ae, aegypti: the protection times were less than or equal to 1 hour. Only the synthetic repellent based on KBR 3023 provided satisfactory defence to human volunteers.
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Repellent properties of three plant extracts--essential oil (steam distillate) of Zanthoxylum limonella (fruits), Citrus aurantifolia (leaf) and petroleum ether extract of Z. limonella (fruits) were evaluated as repellent against Aedes (S.) albopictus mosquitoes in mustard (Dhara) and coconut (Parachute) oil base under laboratory conditions. Three concentrations--10, 20 and 30% of the repellents were evaluated. Repellents in mustard oil afforded longer protection time against the bites of Aedes (S.) albopictus mosquitoes than those in coconut oil. At 30% concentration, 296-304 min protection time was achieved by the test repellents in mustard oil base while repellents in coconut oil exhibited 223.5-245 min protection time at the same concentration. Oil of Z. limonella gave the highest protection time against the bites of Aedes (S.) albopictus mosquitoes at all the concentrations than other herbal repellents tested both in mustard and coconut oil.
Studies by prior workers have shown that insect repellents can act as attractants when present as low concentrations, deposits or residues. In the present study deet and ethyl hexanediol were tested in 2-fold serial doses from 1.9 X 10(-9) to 1.6 X 10(-2) mg/cm2 on the forearms of volunteers against colonized Anopheles albimanus, Aedes aegypti and Ae. taeniorhynchus. Both compounds were significantly repellent at the high end of the dose range, as expected. Neither was significantly attractant to An. albimanus in low doses. However, deet was significantly attractant to Ae. aegypti in the dose range 7.6 X 10(-9) to 1.2 X 10(-4) mg/cm2 and to Ae. taeniorhynchus in the dose ranges 1.9 X 10(-9) to 3.1 X 10(-8) mg/cm2 and 2.0 X 10(-6) to 2.5 X 10(-4) mg/cm2. Ethyl hexanediol was significantly attractant to Ae. taeniorhynchus in the dose range 1.9 X 10(-9) to 6.2 X 10(-5) mg/cm2. Based on these results and prior work of V.G. Dethier and C.N.E. Ruscoe, a model sequence of the effects of chemicals on insects with increasing dose was developed. It was concluded that the labels of commercial repellents should be amended to include instructions to wash off or reapply the repellent when it is no longer effective.
The optimal management of arthropod bites is prevention, and many over-the-counter insect repellents are available. Since first marketed in 1956, deet has remained the most effective repellent against mosquitoes, biting fleas, gnats, and chiggers. Permethrin is applied to clothing rather than to skin, and it is a better repellent against ticks than deet. The risk of serious side effects with the use of deet is slight; nevertheless, the lowest effective concentration should be used. The current, popular repellent agents (for adults and children) and their active ingredients are discussed. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for the safe use of insect repellents are supplied.
This paper is intended to provide the clinician with the detailed and scientific information needed to advise patients who seek safe and effective ways of preventing mosquito bites. For this review, clinical and analytical data were selected from peer-reviewed research studies and review articles, case reports, entomology texts and journals, and government and industry publications. Relevant information was identified through a search of the MEDLINE database, the World Wide Web, the Mosquito-L electronic mailing list, and the Extension Toxicology Network database; selected U.S. Army, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Agriculture publications were also reviewed. N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) is the most effective, and best studied, insect repellent currently on the market. This substance has a remarkable safety profile after 40 years of worldwide use, but toxic reactions can occur (usually when the product is misused). When DEET-based repellents are applied in combination with permethrin-treated clothing, protection against bites of nearly 100% can be achieved. Plant-based repellents are generally less effective than DEET-based products. Ultrasonic devices, outdoor bug "zappers," and bat houses are not effective against mosquitoes. Highly sensitive persons may want to take oral antihistamines to minimize cutaneous reactions to mosquito bites.
In addition to original research, Far-Manguinhos, the Pharmaceutical Division of the Brazilian Ministry of Health's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), devotes major attention to the finalising of products for use in public health campaigns or, under contract, for private industrial development. Emphasis is on standardisation, adequate supply, safety in use and efficacy. Among the products discussed in this summary of some of its activities in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields are medicinal plants Bidens pilosa, Cymbopogon citratus, Copaifera species, Mentha crispa, Phyllanthus tenellus Roxb. and other Phyllanthus species, insecticidal plants, Lonchocarpus urucu and Quassia amara, and the insect antifeedant plants Carapa guianensis and Pterodon emarginatus.
Contact with insects may induce cutaneous or systemic reactions, ranging from little more than annoying to life threatening. The diagnosis depends on maintaining a high index of suspicion and being familiar with the insect fauna of the patient's environment and area of travel.
The worldwide threat of arthropod-transmitted diseases, with their associated morbidity and mortality, underscores the need for effective insect repellents. Multiple chemical, botanical, and "alternative" repellent products are marketed to consumers. We sought to determine which products available in the United States provide reliable and prolonged complete protection from mosquito bites. We conducted studies involving 15 volunteers to test the relative efficacy of seven botanical insect repellents; four products containing N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, now called N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET); a repellent containing IR3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate); three repellent-impregnated wristbands; and a moisturizer that is commonly claimed to have repellent effects. These products were tested in a controlled laboratory environment in which the species of the mosquitoes, their age, their degree of hunger, the humidity, the temperature, and the light-dark cycle were all kept constant. DEET-based products provided complete protection for the longest duration. Higher concentrations of DEET provided longer-lasting protection. A formulation containing 23.8 percent DEET had a mean complete-protection time of 301.5 minutes. A soybean-oil-based repellent protected against mosquito bites for an average of 94.6 minutes. The IR3535-based repellent protected for an average of 22.9 minutes. All other botanical repellents we tested provided protection for a mean duration of less than 20 minutes. Repellent-impregnated wristbands offered no protection. Currently available non-DEET repellents do not provide protection for durations similar to those of DEET-based repellents and cannot be relied on to provide prolonged protection in environments where mosquito-borne diseases are a substantial threat.
Why do mosquitoes feast on some people and leave others alone? Researchers are trying to find out, hoping it will help them design the perfect mosquito trap.