A study conducted by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has found that putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a cooler can save people from dengue.
In Punjab, the number of dengue cases this season has already crossed 1,000. The department of medical parasitology of the PGI, in association with the UT health department, has carried out an experiment by breeding Aedes aegypti in a controlled laboratory atmosphere. They put a few drops of both neem oil and eucalyptus oil into the cooler and found that these effectively killed the larvae and pupa of mosquito Aedes aegypti, which causes dengue. "Our study found that eucalyptus oil was more effective than neem oil to deal with the mosquito," said Dr Rakesh Sehgal, head, department of medical parasitology.
The most common method employed for their control is the use of insecticides but due to an increase in resistance for the past few years, the need was felt to study the effect of plant-derived products as larvicidal agents, said Dr Sehgal.
According to the experiment, the PGI, in its laboratory, tested both eucalyptus and neem oil, and larval mortality was recorded every one, two, four and eight hours.
"It was found that eucalyptus oil resulted in 100% larval and pupal mortality after two hours whereas when the same concentration of neem oil was tested, after four hours, 64% larval and 98% pupal mortality was observed," the study observed.
Though neem oil has been much talked about, the study found that eucalyptus oil is more effective. "It is an easy and completely safe method to stop the spread of dengue," said Dr Sehgal.
The PGI will start its field trials from Wednesday. The cooler is the most common place where Aedes aegypti breeds as it requires clean water to do so. After the monsoon season, coolers remain unused but water is left in them, which provides a fertile breeding ground for the mosquito.
According to the PGI, eucalyptus oil can be a big game-changer in dealing with dengue as insecticides can't be used in the coolers.
Reported dengue cases in 2015
Punjab 1,035 3
Chandigarh 62 -
For public, the rough concentration to be used is as follows:
Name of Oil Conc to be added per litre Conc to be added per cooler (appx 15 litres)
Eucalyptus oil 2 drops 30 drops
Neem oil 4 drops 60 drops