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Topical mosquito repellents are useful in preventing mosquito bites in countries vulnerable to mosquito-borne diseases. In the island of Mauritius, recent years have seen 2 outbreaks of chikungunya fever and 2 outbreaks of dengue fever. Previously, these mosquito-borne diseases were absent in the island. In this context, a study was carried out in a young university student population to study topical mosquito repellent usage in an inter-epidemic period. Findings showed that usage of topical mosquito repellents was low as only 21% of the sample regularly used these despite an average mosquito bite rate of 1.88/day. Usage of topical repellents was also more frequent in females and did not have a statistically significant linear relationship to previous experience of mosquito-borne infections or to the rate of mosquito bites. Barriers to topical mosquito repellent usage included a lack of concern to mosquito bites, the use of alternative methods to prevent mosquito bites, concerns about topical repellent side-effects, the high cost of these products and the perception that these were ineffective in preventing mosquito bites. Individual preventive measures in society, such as the usage of topical mosquito repellents, should be regularly monitored by health authorities to gauge the state of preparedness against mosquito-borne diseases.
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Author(s): Goorah S Russeeawon Y Ramchurn SK
Mosquito-borne diseases, Mosquito bites, Topical mosquito repellents, DEET, Inter-epidemic period