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The lab where the new repellent was developed. The lab where the new repellent was developed. conacyt

Repellent developed for Zika mosquito

Oaxaca university students create CitroRepel, an all-natural product

Students at a university in Oaxaca say they have developed an ecologically friendly repellent that is effective against the mosquito that carries the Zika virus as well as chikungunya and dengue.

They claim that their totally natural product is an economic means of combating those ailments, and once available on the market will be 60% cheaper than traditional repellents, according to information published by the National Science and Technology Council, Conacyt.

Student Miguel Alejandro Orduña Márquez of the University of Papaloapan said CitroRepel was developed in response to the needs of citizens in Oaxaca, where high temperatures and humidity levels contribute to the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

It transmits all three viruses.

Orduña Márquez and his team of students of biotechnology and chemical engineering say their product uses no toxic chemicals and works for three to six hours.

It consists of essential oils combined with alcohol, distilled water and glycerine and causes no allergic reactions in the skin because it employs all-natural products.

The key ingredients are orange peel, lavender flowers and lemon grass, from which the essential oils of citronella, limonene and linalool, all of which are strong-smelling, are extracted using hydrodistillation.

CitroRepel’s creators plan to form a business to take their product to market.

Meanwhile, the website Foro Ambiental reported today that the Aedes aegypti mosquito has also become adapted to higher altitudes and lower temperatures. It said researchers have identified cases of dengue among hundreds of people in high, mountainous regions of Nepal.

The implication for Mexico is that the mosquito could survive and breed in Mexico City.

Thirty-seven cases of Zika have been identified in Mexico. The World Health Organization has warned of its potentially “explosive” growth in Latin America.

Symptoms of Zika are a mild fever and skin rash along with conjunctivitis, an eye inflammation, and muscle or joint pain, and are felt two to five days after an infected mosquito bites.

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