FTC: Marketers Making Bogus Zika Protection Claims

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The Federal Trade Commission has sent letters to 10 online marketers warning them against making bogus claims about their products’ ability to protect against the Zika virus.

Some companies are peddling wristbands, stickers and patches that they claim can protect wearers from the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which causes flu-like symptoms in most cases, but has also been linked to serious birth defects.

Unfortunately, despite online marketers’ claims, there is not sufficient scientific evidence indicating that the products are effective in protecting consumers from mosquitoes.

The FTC is warning the marketers that their statements must be supported by “competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of well-controlled human clinical testing.” According to an FTC press release:

In addition to warning the marketers that false or misleading claims may violate the FTC Act, subjecting them to legal action, the letters urge them to review the claims that they and their affiliates and distributors are making for their products, and delete or change them immediately if they cannot be substantiated by scientific evidence.

Now that mosquitoes in the United States have been found to carry and transmit the Zika virus — more than a dozen cases of “homegrown” Zika have been confirmed north of downtown Miami — it’s no surprise that many Americans’ Zika outbreak fears are in overdrive.

Because no vaccine exists to prevent Zika, the best way to protect yourself from the disease is to avoid getting bit by Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

To best protect against mosquitoes that could carry Zika, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Not sure which insect repellent provides the best protection against Zika? Check out the “5 Best Repellents for Zika Virus Mosquitoes.”

Does the Zika virus scare you? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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