KUALA LUMPUR: Plants such as jasmine, citronella (serai), aloe vera and eurycoma longifolia (tongkat ali) can be used to repel mosquitoes in preventing dengue and Zika outbreaks, says the Health Ministry. The ministry also named five other plants with similar functions, namely vitiveria zizanioides (akar wangi), basil, floramaster, mahogany (mambu) and geranium.

In a posting on its Facebook page, the ministry advised the public and local authorities to find other effective ways of curbing dengue and Zika fever in addition to the available control measures.

“Among them is the use of mosquito repelling plants which can be grown in residential areas,” it said.

The ministry said several studies had shown that these plants could repel not only mosquitoes but also other insects as well.

The ministry said 1,550 dengue cases were reported in the first week of October, a drop of 151 cases from the previous week’s 1,701 cases. Four deaths were also reported, bringing the cumulative total to 190 this year, compared to 261 in the corresponding period last year.