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Insect avoidance

Insects and other vectors, such as ticks, transmit a number of serious infections. Taking precautions to avoid insect bites and contact with other vectors can reduce the risk of these infections. Examples of insect-borne diseases are dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, tick-borne encephalitis, African Trypanosomiasis (or ‘African sleeping sickness’) and yellow fever. 30


  • Insect repellents: substances that when applied to exposed skin or clothing repel insects. Insect repellents do not kill insects and are usually only effective for 3–4 hours, so repeated application may be required.  Repellants known to be effective are those containing DEET,  IR3535 or Icaridin. Dosage instructions should not be exceeded especially in young children and pregnant women.30
  • Insecticide vaporiser: mosquito coils are the best-known example.
  • Aerosol insecticide sprays kill flying insects. Indoor sleeping areas should be sprayed before bedtime.
  • Wear protective clothing at times of the day when vectors are active.
  • Mosquito nets, preferable impregnated with an insecticide, are an excellent means of personal protection while sleeping.
  • Avoid or limit proximity to bodies of freshwater, such as lakes, irrigation ditches and slow-running streams where insects may breed.
  • Air-conditioning is a highly effective means of keeping mosquitoes and other insects out of a room.

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