The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Insect Repellents
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The CDC has received a record number of reports of West Nile virus infection this year – 1993 as of September 4, including 87 deaths – and strongly recommends use of insect repellents to prevent transmission of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.1 Insect repellents have been used on the skin for many years to prevent mosquito bites, which can transmit malaria, dengue, and various types of encephalitis. In recent years, insect repellents have also been recommended as protection against ticks, which transmit Lyme disease.

DEET — The topical insect repellent with the best documented effectiveness is N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET).2 Applied on exposed skin, DEET repels mosquitoes, as well as ticks, chiggers, fleas, gnats and some flies. DEET is available in formulations of 5-100%, but increasing the concentration above 50% has not ... more      

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