Consumer Reports Shares Mosquito Repellent Ratings For Zika Virus Prevention

Even if you’ve only been half paying attention to the news, you’ve heard something about the Zika virus, even if it’s only that a bunch of people have changed their travel plans, governments are advising couples to delay trying to conceive children, and someone had to rename a car. It’s spread mainly by mosquitoes, , and that’s something that our product-testing cousins down the hall at Consumer Reports can help with. They test mosquito repellents, and have released their ratings to non-subscribers.

What they found was that the most effective repellents had high proportions of picardin or Deet, with one brand based on oil of lemon eucalyptus, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, scoring well in their tests. Recommended brands include Repel, Sawyer, Off! Deepwoods, and Natrapel.

Zika is new to the Americas, there is no vaccine for it, and the disease has been potentially linked to a serious birth defect. The disease is spreading quickly, and the catch is that most people who are infected have no symptoms. Experts also aren’t sure how or at what point in a pregnancy the virus causes microcephaly.

While there’s evidence that the virus is sexually transmitted as well, the main infection route is through mosquitoes. While the disease is currently circulating in central and South America, patterns from other mosquito-borne diseases predict that it will eventually hit tropical parts of the United States. Infected travelers have brought it here, but infected mosquitoes haven’t made the trip yet.

Insect Repellent Ratings [Consumer Reports]