Following the announcement that the number of Zika cases likely spread by local mosquitoes had increased to 30 in the United States, officials have released a number of tips that residents can take to prevent infection and stop mosquitoes from breeding.
Officials said they were not surprised by the reported cases. “I wouldn’t say I’m concerned. I expected it,” said Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We take this very, very seriously.”
Not all mosquitoes are the same. Different mosquitoes spread different viruses and bite at different times of the day. Some mosquito species bite during the day, such as those mosquitoes that can spread chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses. Other species of mosquitoes bite most often at dawn and dusk, including those that can transmit West Nile virus.
Pregnant women and their partners:
- Pregnant women should not travel to this area.
- Pregnant women and their partners living in or traveling to this area should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Women and men who live in or traveled to this area and who have a pregnant sex partner should use condoms or other barriers to prevent infection every time they have sex or not have sex during the pregnancy.
- All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.
- Pregnant women who live in or frequently travel to this area should be tested in the first and second trimester of pregnancy.
- Pregnant women with possible Zika exposure and signs or symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.
- Pregnant women who traveled to or had unprotected sex with a partner that traveled to or lives in this area should talk to their healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.
Couples thinking about getting pregnant:
- Women with Zika should wait at least 8 weeks and men with Zika should wait at least 6 months after symptoms began to try to get pregnant.
- Women and men who live in or frequently travel to this area should talk to their healthcare provider.
- Women and men who traveled to this area should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant.
Officials advised to use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. However, they need to study the labels carefully and look for a particular ingredient. “What they need to look at in the labels are the letters D, E, E, T, DEET, and it’s got to be over 30 percent,” said Fauci.
Wear repellent when you are outdoors. Use products with active ingredients that are safe and effective.
“People sometimes are concerned. They don’t want to put insect repellent on [because] they think it’s toxic,” said Fauci. “The DEET-containing insect repellents are safe and really are not going to cause any harm.”
- Always follow the product label instructions.
- Do not spray repellent on skin under clothing.
- If you use sunscreen, put sunscreen on first and insect repellent second.
- It is safe for pregnant or nursing women to use EPA-approved repellents if applied according to package label instructions.
- Learn more: www2.epa.gov/insect-repellents
Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection
|Some brand name examples*|
|DEET||Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, Ultrathon|
|Picaridin, also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin||Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, Autan (outside the United States)|
|Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)||Repel|
|IR3535||Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition, SkinSmart|
|*Insect repellent brand names are provided for your information only. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cannot recommend or endorse any name brand products.|
If you have a baby or child:
- Always follow product instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
- Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
- Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, mouth, cut or irritated skin.
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months.
- Dress babies or small children in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover cribs, strollers or baby carriers with mosquito netting.
Cover up with clothing
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing. Treat clothes with permethrin or another EPA-registered insecticide for extra protection.
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Permethrin is an insecticide that kills mosquitoes and other insects.
- Buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear (boots, pants, socks, tents), or use permethrin to treat clothing and gear— follow product instructions closely.
- Read product information to find out how long the permethrin will last.
- Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
Keep mosquitoes outside:
- Keeps screens on all windows
- Use the air conditioner
- Repair holes in screens
- Keep doors and windows shut
Stop mosquitoes from breeding. Mosquitoes breed by laying eggs in & near standing water (Drain and Cover). As little as one teaspoon or bottle cap of water standing for more than one week is enough for mosquitoes to breed and multiply. Put away items that are outside and nothing being used because they could hold standing water.
At least once a week empty, turn over or cover anything that could hold water:
- pools & pool covers
- trash, trash containers & recycling bins
- boat or car covers
- roof gutters coolers
- pet dishes
- keep flower pots free of standing water
Source: Florida Department of Health & CDC.