No Swatting Required: This Newspaper Shoos Away Mosquitoes as You Read It

Ink mixed with a natural repellent protects you from disease while you peruse the morning news.
Jul 2, 2014·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Besides being pesky little things that ruin backyard barbecues and camping trips, mosquitoes transmit serious illnesses that kill millions around the world every year. In Sri Lanka, infection rates of dengue fever—a mosquito-borne disease prevalent in tropical climates—has reached such high levels that people have come up with an innovative solution: mosquito-repellent newsprint.

Sri Lankan newspaper Mawbima and advertising agency Leo Burnett Sri Lanka recently teamed up to launch a campaign for National Dengue Week. The paper printed a special edition that used ink infused with citronella essence, a natural mosquito repellent.

“People read the newspaper in the early morning and evening, the time the mosquito strikes,” the video above explains. The day the paper—which carried articles about dengue fever information and prevention—ran, all copies sold out by 10 a.m., boosting newsstand sales by 30 percent.

The campaign also placed citronella-coated posters at bus stops to inform and keep commuters safe from bites.

With no vaccine for dengue fever and other mosquito-transmitted diseases such as malaria, mosquitoes are some of the deadliest insects in the world. According to the World Health Organization, more than 2.3 million dengue fever cases were reported across Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, and the Americas in 2013. Roughly 500,000 people, many of them children, are hospitalized because of infection each year.