Role of Repellents in Vector Control and Disease Prevention

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  • Department of Entomology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, District of Columbia

Repellents are an inexpensive and practical means of protection against nuisance and disease vector arthropods in conjunction with or when other control measures are not feasible. Appropriate selection of skin and/or clothing repellents along with proper wear of clothing can provide adequate protection from biting arthropods, and are available in a wide variety of forms including lotions, creams, foams, soaps, aerosols, sticks, and towellettes. A coordinated effort among different research groups associated with advances in the science of insect repellents such as mode of action information, doses of repellents to generate threshold level responses and controlled release delivery mechanisms, may help in understanding the mechanisms by which repellents work. This in turn may revolutionize the development of repellents for personal protection and their use in vector control.