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News you can use: Sri Lankan newspaper repels insects

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 8:40 p.m.

A Sri Lankan newspaper will once again print an issue infused with insect repellent as part of the island nation's fight against dengue fever, the publisher has announced.

The daily Mawbima printed its April 7 issue with citronella-laced ink to mark National Dengue Week, and it sold out before 10 a.m., the Japan Times reported on Friday. The latest edition will be put out later this month, according to the report.

The dual-purpose edition boosted single-day circulation by 30 percent, or 300,000 copies, among the Sinhalese-speaking community in the capital of Colombo, the Japanese paper said.

“We want to use the power of the newspaper, which is read by so many people, to reduce the number of dengue cases,” Mawbima editor Thushara Gunaratna was quoted as saying. “Although (the repellent) is only effective for a few hours, it's effective in the morning when people are reading papers.”

Dengue, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, affects about 50 million people worldwide annually and has been spreading in tropical climates in recent years. At least 20,000 Sri Lankans have been diagnosed with dengue fever this year, and 12,000 of the cases have been fatal, Public Radio International reported in its story last month about the special newspaper edition.

The Dengue virus is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is well adapted to human habitation, preferring to rest in dark areas inside houses and lay eggs on the walls of water-filled vessels and structures.

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