Everybody uses a rolled-up newspaper to swat annoying mosquitoes but have you ever rubbed a newspaper on your skin to repel mosquitoes?

Probably not, unless you live in Sri Lanka, India.

Read the News While Repelling Mosquitoes

If you had lived in Sri Lanka last year, you could have been one of the 30,000 people who developed dengue fever, a serious and potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. With no vaccine or antiviral medication available to fight the severe headache, high fever and vomiting associated with dengue fever, a concerned newspaper company called Mawbima decided to take action.

Citronella + Newspaper Ink = Mosquito Repellent?

An essential oil extracted from the stems and leaves of some types of lemongrass, citronella is especially effective a repelling the Aedes aiegypti mosquito, the principle carrier of dengue fever. This oil also works great at chasing away lice and stable flies. However, citronella needs to be reapplied at least every 60 minutes to remain effective at repelling disease-carrying mosquitoes. So the Mawbima newspaper decided to mix citronella oil with the ink it used to print its newspaper in an effort to reduce the number of dengue fever cases affecting people in the Sri Lanka area.

Are U.S. Newspapers Next to Print Mosquito-Repelling Newspapers?

Although it is too early to tell whether Mawbima’s innovative plan to potentially save thousands of lives from falling to dengue fever, malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases will be a success, health agencies concerned about mosquito-borne diseases in their respective countries are already discussing the possibility of following Mawbima’s modus operandi–printing newspapers with citronella-based ink that can be easily transferred from paper to skin.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases On the Rise in the U.S.

Nearly all states have received reports of people suffering diseases transmitted by mosquitoes that have never before been seen in the U.S.–Chicungunya, dengue, yellow fever, various types of encephalitis and West Nile virus. In addition to wearing insect repellant when venturing outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn, Assured Environments strongly urges New York and New Jersey residents closely monitor their properties for evidence of excessive mosquito activity and call Assured Environments for an evaluation and development of a treatment plan if necessary.