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Bug spray sales are spiking as the Zika virus is spreading.
CBS MoneyWatch reports that sales of insect repellent and rodent control products topped $516 million during the 52-week period that ended Jan. 24 — an 11.2 percent increase from the prior year that has been fueled by fear of the mosquito-borne virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel alerts for more than two dozen nations and territories because of the Zika virus, which is linked to serious birth defects.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak, which is concentrated in the tropical Americas but has been reported in the U.S., a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”
Now the nonprofit Consumer Reports is doing its part to help:
In response to this growing threat, Consumer Reports is releasing free to the public its exclusive test results and Ratings of mosquito repellents (download a PDF of the Ratings) — including those that will protect you best against Aedes mosquitoes, the type that carry Zika.
Consumer Reports’ ratings are generally available only with a paid subscription, but the organization notes that avoiding mosquito bites is critical, as there is currently no vaccine or drug for Zika virus.
The nonprofit tested 15 mosquito repellents and gave its recommendation to five:
- Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent, a pump spray with picaridin 20 percent as its active ingredient (which earned an overall score of 96 out of 100 from Consumer Reports)
- Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent, a pump spray with oil of lemon eucalyptus 30 percent (earned a score of 87)
- Repel Insect Repellent Scented Family Formula, an aerosol spray with DEET 15 percent (earned a score of 82)
- Natrapel 8-Hour Insect Repellent, an aerosol spray with picaridin 20 percent (earned a score of 81)
- Off! Deep Woods Dry Insect Repellent VIII, an aerosol spray with DEET 25 percent (earned a score of 74)
To learn more, check out “Before You Travel: What to Know About Protecting Yourself From Zika Virus.”
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