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Keywords:

  • Simulium damnosum;
  • coping strategies;
  • DEET;
  • insect repellents;
  • Onchocerciasis

Coping strategies including smoke screens are used against nuisance bites of Simulium damnosum Theobald (Diptera:Simuliidae) in onchocerciasis endemic communities. To find more effective alternatives, the efficacy of commercially available N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) products with active concentrations of 9.5, 13, 25, 50 and 98.1–100% and ‘NO MAS,’ (active component: para-menthane-3,8-diol and lemon grass oil) were tested at Bui-Agblekame, Ghana. A Latin square study design was implemented using eight groups of two vector collectors each, who used repellents (treatment), mineral oil or nothing each day until the end of the study. Flies were caught and their numbers each hour recorded using the standard methods for onchocerciasis transmission studies. T-tests were used to compare the mean duration of protection and a one-way analysis of variance controlling for catchers and repellents was performed. Tukey's test was used to compare protection by repellents and mineral oil. The highest percentage protection was 80.8% by NO MAS and the least 42.5% by the 13% DEET product. The period of absolute protection was 5 h by NO MAS and 1 h by 50% DEET product. No significant increase in protection was offered beyond 25% active DEET products and no significance was observed in terms of catcher × repellent effect (F = 1.731, d.f. = 48, P = 0.209).