Prevention & Vector Control

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  • Zika virus is transmitted primarily to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Hence, mosquito control and bite prevention remains the best methods for minimizing viral spread..
  • When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps:
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
    • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
    • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
    • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness.
    • Always follow the product label instructions
    • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
    • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
    • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
  • If you have a baby or child:
    • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
    • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or
    • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
    • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.  Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
    • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
    • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
    • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
    • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
    • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
  • If you have the Zika virus, protect others from getting sick
    • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
    • To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness.
  • Community Efforts
    • Before mosquito season
      • Conduct public mosquito education campaigns focusing on reducing or eliminating larval habitats for the Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus vectors
      • Conduct surveys to determine abundance, distribution, and type of containers; large numbers of containers may translate into high mosquito abundance and high risk
      • Initiate a community wide source reduction campaign – the goal of the campaign is to motivate the community to remove and dispose of any water holding containers
      • Cover, dump, modify or treat large water-holding containers with long-lasting larvicide
    • Beginning of mosquito season
      • Continue public education campaigns focusing on reducing or eliminating larval habitats for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus vectors
      • Develop and distribute mosquito education materials about Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus and personal protection measures
      • Initiate Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus community-wide surveys to:
      • determine presence or absence
      • estimate relative abundance
      • determine distribution
      • develop detailed vector distribution maps
      • evaluate the efficacy of source reduction and larvicide treatment
      • Continue/maintain community source reduction efforts.
      • Initiate adult sampling to identify or confirm areas of high adult mosquito abundance
      • Initiate preventive adult control to reduce adult populations targeting areas of high mosquito abundance
      • Concentrate control efforts around places with high mosquito density

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