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Are we doing enough to promote the effective use of mosquito repellents?

Health authorities need to review recommendations on how to choose and use mosquito repellents

Mosquito-borne pathogens remain a threat to public health in Australia. The activity of dengue and chikungunya viruses has increased across South-East Asia and the Pacific region in recent years, and the number of travellers returning to Australia infected with mosquito-borne pathogens has steadily grown.1 Annual notifications of endemic mosquito-borne disease resulting from infection with Ross River or Barmah Forest viruses persist at around 5000 cases a year in Australia, and local transmission of dengue viruses remains a threat in Far North Queensland.2

Notwithstanding the risk to human health, the nuisance biting of local mosquito species is also a problem. With the threat of exotic mosquito introduction, particularly of Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito), which could become established in major metropolitan regions,3 management of public health risks associated with mosquito populations will continue to be of concern.

While broad-scale mosquito control can reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease in certain circumstances,4 local authorities rarely have the financial or operational capacity to implement and maintain an effective program. New “technological fixes”,…