Traditional use of indigenous mosquito-repellents to protect humans against mosquitoes and other insect bites in a rural community of Cameroon.
A structured questionnaire was administered to 179 individuals living in Bolifamba village, Cameroon to investigate the types of traditional insect repellents they use to prevent mosquito bites and other insect bites [date not given]. Among the respondents, 91 (50.8%) were using conventional insect repellents, while 88 (49.2%) were using traditional insect repellents; 57 (64.7%) used plant-based repellents, while 31 (35.2%) used various petroleum oils. The plant species most commonly used as insect repellents were Saccharum officinarum and Ocimum basilicum; others were Elaeis guineensis, Cestrum nocturnum, Citrus, Khaya grandifoliola, Cymbopogon citratus, Cupressus, Dacryodes edulis and Vernonia amygdalina. Reasons for using traditional methods were being more available, more affordable, and lack of known more effective alternatives. The reported disadvantages of these methods were: labourious to implement, ability to stain clothes, and produce a lot of smoke/repulsive odours. Non-use of conventional methods was associated with high cost and non-availability. When tested at field conditions, both extracts of S. officinarum and O. basilicum showed good insect repellent properties; however, after 2 h of application, their efficacy showed a significant decrease. It is concluded that various plant extracts can be used as insect repellents, which are cost-effective and easily available.