The Efficacy of Atis (Annona Squamosa Linn) Leaves and Seeds as Mosquito Repellent

Introduction             A current disputesurfaced in the Philippines, regarding the termination of the use of a denguevaccine named, Dengvaxia. This basically meant that a population of over730,000, particularly children, was suspended from using the said vaccine as itwas reported by a French drug company Sanofi,that it could exacerbate thedisease among people who have not been afflicted by dengue in the past. By thattime, public schools in the areas of Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON,carried out vaccine programs.

A few days after the controversy, the WorldHealth Organization (WHO), clarified that they did not prescribe or advocatethe use of Dengvaxia on any parts of the world for their immunization programs. In most tropical countries, mosquito-borne diseases,including dengue, malaria and filariasis has been one of the leading causes ofdeath. During the late 1950s, dengueepidemics were first recognized in the Philippines and Thailand (previouslyknown as dengue hemorrhagic fever).

Themost common victims are children younger than 10 years of age. It is a fastemerging pandemic-prone viral disease that mainly flourishes in localmunicipalities, suburbs and the countryside and kills about 20, 000 people ayear. The shocking increase of dengue incident year after year is aconcern of our local health department and the society. Due to that, variouscampaigns against dengue are launched by both the public and private sectors. Commercially,there are various products of mosquito repellents readily available forconsumers but most of them are highly made from harmful substances and expensivemaking it less accessible.

 Atis(Annona Squamosa), a tropical plant with only a height of three or fivemeters that typically grows in the Philippines yields leaves and seedscontaining a substance known as Annonaceous Acetogenins (ACGs) which are saidto have insecticidal properties. A study conducted by (Pierre Champy, 2011),proved that statement. Moreover, the results of his study showed thatAnnonaceous Acetogenins (ACGs) were toxic to insects, therefore increasing thepossibility for it to become an effective insecticide.

A similar study by(Ashok Kumar, et. al, 2010) showed that Atis (Annona Squamosa) leavescontain active compounds, namely, essential oil, terpenes, alkaloids-anonaine,roemerine, corydine, norcorydine, isocorydine, and norisocorydine, whichapparently contributes to its insecticidal properties. Aswe all know, the Philippines is a tropical country, allowing the mosquitoes tothrive and grow in large numbers as it generates the perfect environment forthem.

This is the main factor of the ever-growing problem in the country, specificallymosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and filariasis. The saidproblem allowed the need for a natural and accessible insecticide for almostall households in the said country. The study aims to determine the efficacy ofthe said mosquito repellent (atis leaves and seeds). Furthermore, theresearchers would also like to verify whether the product is much safer andcheaper than the commercial ones.

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