The World Health Organization declared the rapid spread of the Zika virus is now an international health emergency. Zika is linked to birth defects and is spread by mosquito bites. Consumer Reports tested top mosquito repellents and 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney is here with exclusive results.
The threat is still growing and Consumer Reports released ratings of mosquito repellants that can keep you safe.
There is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus and no drug to treat Zika infections. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention says it's essential that people avoid mosquito bites.
Consumer Reports tests insect repellents for their effectiveness against the Aedes mosquito, that's the kind of mosquito known to transmit Zika.
"Products containing the right percentages of DEET or picaridan were most effective at preventing bites from aggressive mosquitos in our tests," said Sue Byrne of Consumer Reports.
The best ones are Sawyer Fisherman's Formula Picaridin and Natrapel 8 Hour. They each contain 20 percent picaridin. Also, Off Deep Woods 8, which contains 25 percent DEET, the amount of DEET Consumer Reports considers safe and effective.
Even women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can safely use these insect repellents if they're applied properly.
Apply repellents only to exposed skin or clothing, never under your clothing. Don't apply mosquito repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin. When using them on your face, spray first on your hands, then rub it in carefully, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
Don't let young children apply insect repellent themselves. Instead, put it on your own hands, then rub it on them and it should never be used on infants under two months old.
While no cases of Zika have been traced to mosquito bites received in the United States. Experts predict some spread of the disease as weather warms up, particularly in Florida, Texas, and other southern states where the Aedes mosquitoes are most prevalent.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
7 On Your Side: Consumer Reports tests top mosquito repellents in light of Zika outbreak abroad
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