Repellents as a major element in the context of prevention of tick-borne diseases

Przegl Epidemiol. 2019;73(2):269-280. doi: 10.32394/pe.73.25.


In Poland, out of the 21 species of ticks described, two species have the greatest epidemiological significance: Ixodes ricinus and Dermacentor reticulatus. Their participation in the transmission of etiologic agents of vector diseases such as Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, babesiosis, rickettsiosis and many others is widely known. Due to the often severe and sometimes fatal course of diseases transmitted by ticks, a great deal of emphasis is placed on prophylactic activities, minimizing the possibility of biting and transfering pathogens along with the arachnid saliva. In addition to means of personal protection, including appropriate clothing, protective vaccinations, avoiding tick habitats or body checking after returning from this type of places, one of the most important elements of anti-tick prevention is the use of effective repellents. The key role of using the repellent is to discourage the arthropod from attacking and to prevent it from taking food, as a result of which there is no phenomenon of transmission of pathogens from the hematophage to the host organism. The most commonly used substances with arthropod repellent properties are: N-N-diethylm-toluamide (DEET), 3-(N-acetyl-N-butyl) aminopropionic acid ethyl ester (IR3535), icaridine, permethrin and essential oils. However, it should be remembered that no repellent ever protects 100% all the time after application - its use should be considered as one of many elements of personal protection in the prevention of tick bites.

Keywords: repellents; tick-bite prevention; ticks; tick-borne diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / prevention & control*
  • Dermacentor
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Ixodes
  • Tick-Borne Diseases / prevention & control*


  • Insect Repellents