There is no vaccine to prevent the Zika virus disease, or drug to treat it. The only thing we can do is to apply mosquito repellent religiously.
“Using an insect repellent is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from Zika and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes," says Harry Savage, chief of ecology and entomology activity at the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.
And not every mosquito repellent is made equal. According to the Consumer Reports organisation (an independent, nonprofit organisation in 1936 in the United States), the most effective mosquito repellents contain a variety of ingredients such as the chemical DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), a chemical compound picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, chemicals called IR3535 and 2-undecanone, and an array of plant-based oils, such as cedar, citronella, geraniol, lemongrass, and rosemary.
While it is best to have DEET in your insect repellent, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised against using insect repellents with DEET concentrations that are higher than 30 per cent on children. A National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman adds that no one should use a repellent with more than 30 per cent of DEET. This is because a higher amount of DEET does not give you extra protection and can cause a rash breakout on your skin.
In light of the urgency of the Zika virus situation, Consumer Reports has released free information to the public on its exclusive test results and ratings of mosquito repellents. The following have been tested and found to be most effective against the Aedes mosquitoes.