Advice to Travelers on Topical Insect Repellent Use Against Dengue Mosquitoes in Far North Queensland, Australia


To the Editor-in-Chief:

We compliment Dr Webb and Professor Russell for their meticulous review of different insecticide formulations offered in Australia against mosquito bites.1

For maximum protection against bites by dengue vectors, contribution by protective clothing against the bites of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus should be appreciated. A aegypti is an early-morning or late-afternoon biter, but will also bite at night if there is sufficient artificial light. A aegypti is particularly fond of ankles. The other mosquito A albopictus is also a very aggressive day-time biter, with peaks generally occurring during early morning and later afternoon. A albopictus is likely to bite several times. The bites are in the form of a swelling and are likely to be located in 93% of cases in legs, including ankles.2 Both are container-inhabiting species which lay their eggs in any water-containing receptacle in urban, suburban, rural, and forested areas.3

Apart from constant usage of insecticides,1 it would be desirable to avoid skirts and shorts during day time. As a substitute, breeches or trousers should be worn. Such dress should be popularized by stimulating fashion designers in Australia and elsewhere to offer attractive mosquito-proof clothing. Fashion designers who design innovative dresses should aim to popularize both formal and informal dress for outdoor as well as indoor use. Utilization of informal and attractive and yet mosquito-proof dresses during day time in the house would reinforce the effectiveness of insecticides. They would be preferred by masses who might otherwise resent breeches or trousers.

Subhash C. Arya 1 and Nirmala Agarwal 1