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The use of repellents in protecting people against vector-borne diseases is predicated on the assertion that reducing human/vector contact will reduce the incidence of disease. The methods that have been used in developing countries have been simple to apply and relatively cheap. This article will discuss the use of repellents for protection against vector-borne disease in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific region.
Three biological assay procedures for repellents are currently documented in the literature: 1) ASTM E951-94, Laboratory testing of non-commercial repellent formulations on the skin. 2) ASTM E939-94, Field testing topical applications of compounds as repellents for medically important and pest arthropods. 1. Mosquitoes. 3) WHO/CTD/WHOPES/IC/96.1, Report of WHOPES informal consultation on the evaluation and testing of insecticides. One public draft set of repellent-testing guidelines is available on the internet: 4) USEPA OPPTS 810.3700, Product performance test guidelines. Insect repellents for human skin and outdoor premises. In practice, the outcome of a repellent bioassay using any of these procedures is affected by the absorption, penetration, and chemical modification of repellent on skin and by evaporation, abrasion, and perspiration. Other abiotic factors that influence mosquito responses to repellent stimuli are light, temperature, humidity, repellent dose, exposure time, and test-cage shape and size. Biotic variables in repellent bioassays are larval nutrition, carbohydrate availability for adult mosquitoes, age and parity of females, and differences in the innate attraction/repellency of test subjects. Geographic location and seasonal and diel activity cycles in mosquitoes determine when and where repellents can be tested in the field. Critical knowledge of these sources of variation can be converted to improved precision and accuracy in repellent bioassays and the resulting information used to efficiently select new repellent compounds for toxicological evaluation and field testing.
Disease transmission by arthropods normally requires at least 2 host contacts. During the first, a pathogen (nematode, protozoan, or virus) is acquired along with the blood from an infected vertebrate host. The pathogen penetrates the vector's midgut and infects a variety of tissues, where replication may occur during an extrinsic incubation period lasting 3–30, days depending on vector and parasite physiology and ambient temperature. Following salivary-gland infection, the pathogen is usually transmitted to additional susceptible vertebrate hosts during future probing or blood feeding. The host-seeking strategies used by arthropod vectors can, in part, affect the efficiency of disease transmission. Vector abundance, seasonal distribution, habitat and host preference, and susceptibility to infection are all important components of disease-transmission cycles. Examples of 3 mosquito vectors of human disease are presented here to highlight the diversity of host seeking and to show how specific behaviors may influence disease-transmission cycles. In the African tropics, Anopheles gambiae s.s. is an efficient vector of human malaria due to its remarkably focused preference for human blood. Aedes aegypti is the main vector of dengue viruses in the New and Old World tropics and subtropics. This mosquito has evolved a domestic lifestyle and shares human habitations throughout much of its range. It prospers in settings where humans are its main source of blood. In south Florida, Culex nigripalpus is the major vector of St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) and West Nile (WN) viruses. This mosquito is opportunistic and blood feeds on virtually any available vertebrate host. It serves as an arboviral vector, in part, due to its ability to produce large populations in a short period of time. These 3 host-seeking and blood-feeding strategies make the specialist, as well as the opportunist, equally dangerous disease vectors.
Similarity analysis on molecular stereoelectronic properties of N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), natural insect juvenile hormone (JH), a synthetic insect juvenile hormone mimic (JH-mimic, undecen-2-yl carbamate), and DEET compounds reveals remarkable similarities that lead to a reliable pharmacophore for the design of efficacious insect repellents and provide insights for understanding the mechanism of repellent action. The study involves an AM1 quantum chemical computational procedure enabling a conformational search for the lowest and most abundant energy conformers of JH, JH-mimic, and 15 DEET compounds and complete geometry optimization of the conformers. Similarity analyses of stereoelectronic properties such as structural parameters, atomic charges, dipole moments, molecular electrostatic potentials, and highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) energies were performed on JH, JH-mimic, and the DEET compounds. Similarity of stereoelectronic attributes of the amide/ester moiety, negative electrostatic potential regions beyond the molecular surface, and a large distribution of hydrophobic regions in the compounds appears to be the 3 important factors leading to a similar interaction with the JH receptor. The similarity of electrostatic profiles beyond the molecular surface is likely to play a crucial role toward molecular recognition interaction with the JH receptor from a distance which suggests a possible electrostatic bioisosterism of the amide group of the DEET compounds and JH-mimic and, thus, a model for molecular recognition at the JH receptor.