The use of clothing as a physical barrier against day-time biting mosquitoes is no doubt a potentially important component of personal protection strategies. Unfortunately, there are social and cultural barriers to the adoption of these strategies in Australia, particularly in our tropical regions where Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are present, that innovative fashion designers may not be able to overcome alone. Short sleeved shirts, shorts, and short dresses are common attire in our tropical regions. Local health authorities should continue to encourage the use of long pants and long sleeve shirts during periods of mosquito activity in combination with good advice on insect repellents as part of an integrated approach to personal protection.

The treatment of clothing with insecticides (eg, permethrin) can greatly increase levels of protection against mosquitoes,1 and we do see potential in future textile research for the development of clothing with impregnated long-lasting insecticidal and/or mosquito repellent properties. If the technologies currently employed in the manufacture of bed nets1 can be incorporated into clothing, there may be a reduced reliance on topical insect repellents. However, we do not see a time in our future when insect repellent use will not be a key preventative measure against mosquito-borne disease in Australia.

Cameron E. Webb 1 and Richard C. Russell 1


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