FROM: Travel Health Advisor
In view of the concerns about Zika virus and other mosquito-borne infections, … we advise the following:
Of the personal insect repellents on the market in Australia, the peak USA public health body, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), advises that the only repellents that are effective enough to recommend are those that contain adequate amounts of the following:
- deet (available in multiple brands in Australia)
- picaridin or icaridin (available in multiple brands in Australia)
- oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (the only product available in Australia is Mosiguard)
An evidence-based review of insect repellents (Goodyer LI et al Journal of Travel Medicine 2010*) advises that there are only 3 active ingredients in insect repellents that provide enough protection (when in appropriate product concentrations) to be recommended. They are those listed above.
The CDC advice has been available for almost 10 years. A review on 1 February 2016 of health department websites in Australia reveals that there is only one federal, state or territory health department (South Australia) that even mentions PMD/OLE as a personal insect repellent choice. Many travel health clinics and other authorities also are failing to provide the same up to date information as provided by the South Australia State Health website.
When providing advice, rather than just referring to the active constituent as PMD, it is advisable that it be referred to as extract of lemon eucalyptus, and that the concentration must be 30% or greater (i.e. greater than 300g/kg). This would assist members of the public in selecting the effective products that contain the correct active ingredient and the correct concentration.
*Goodyer LI et al. Expert Review of the Evidence Base for Arthropod Bite Avoidance. DOI: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2010.00402.x. Journal of Travel Medicine 2010; Volume 17 (Issue 3): 182–192