In a new comparative study of insect repellents containing the chemical commonly known as DEET and plant-based repellents, products with DEET showed by far the greatest effectiveness in preventing mosquito bites, medical researchers say.
The study, appearing in the July 4 New England Journal of Medicine, found all products tested that did not contain DEET to be significantly less effective. Authors are Drs. Mark S. Fradin, a Chapel Hill, N.C., dermatologist and adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and John F. Day, professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida.
"We took 16 representative DEET and non-DEET products that were readily available to consumers as insect repellents and tested them carefully, repeatedly and in a way that eliminated as many variables as we could," said Fradin, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the UNC School of Medicine. "We controlled how many mosquitoes we had, their ages, how well-fed they were, what the temperature and humidity were, the levels of light and darkness and so on."
David Williamson | EurekAlert!
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