Plants such as jasmine, citronella, aloe vera and eurycoma longifolia commonly called 'tongkat Ali' can be used to repel mosquitoes in preventing dengue and Zika outbreaks, the Health Ministry said through its Facebook page.

The ministry also named five other plants with similar function, namely vitiveria zizanioides or 'akar wangi', basil, floramaster, mahogany or 'mambu' and geranium.

"The ministry advises 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," said the ministry.

According to the ministry's several studies, citing Zaridah (2005) in Kepong, Ferreira (2011) in London, Pattanayak (2015) and Satpute (2015) in India, these plants could repel not only mosquitoes but also other insects as well.

Meanwhile, the ministry said, in week 40 or from Oct 2 to Oct 8 this year, 1,550 dengue cases were reported, a drop of 151 cases from the previous week's 1,701 cases.

Four dengue deaths were also reported that week, bringing the cumulative death total in the 40th week to 190, compared to 261 in the corresponding period last year. -- Bernama