A product called the OFF! Clip-On repellent device could be an effective tool for preventing bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector of Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever, though DEET, a permethrin or even good old-fashioned DDT will also do the trick, unless you are a Joe Mercola or SourceWatch reader and think science is a vast, right-wing conspiracy out to give you cancer.
According to an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology, OFF! Clip-On repels mosquitoes by releasing a vapor form of metofluthrin insecticide through a battery-powered fan, forming an insecticide "cloud" around the wearer of the device. Christopher Bibbs and Rui-De Xue of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District in Florida studied how the device performed against hungry Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The study was done outdoors in order to replicate real-world conditions.
They found that the OFF! Clip-On caused high mosquito mortality and knockdown rates up to 0.3 meters from the device, enough to protect a single person wearing the device.
Design of the OFF! Clip-on experiment consisted of suspending the OFF treatment device 1 m above the ground, with mosquito cages mounted on poles at 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 m from the treatment device. Three poles were placed at each of the three distances, and each pole held four mosquito cages so that a cage could be removed from each pole at the end of each of the 5 -, 15-, 30-, and 60-min exposure times. Credit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjv200
The effectiveness of the device came as a pleasant surprise to the researchers.
"In vector control, we see more often than not that tools available for consumers don't work for the intended purpose," said Bibbs. "Just look at all the bug zappers, repellent bracelets, sonic bug repellents, and other zany creations that wax and wane in popularity. Skepticism is inherent to the trade. But it was nice for a change of pace that one of these devices could actually do some good."