How can the spread of Zika virus be minimized?

Updated: Dec 11, 2018
  • Author: Bhagyashri D Navalkele, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Residents who live in endemic areas or travelers to endemic areas are advised to avoid mosquito bites. Different strategies to prevent mosquito bites include wearing full-sleeved shirts and long pants, sleeping under mosquito bed net, and treating clothing with permethrin. [16]

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–registered mosquito-repelling agents such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and para-menthane-diol products can be used by all age groups except those younger than 2 months for prevention of mosquito bites. Mosquito larval habitats can be controlled by appropriate handling of water-holding containers, including routinely discarding or covering stagnant water or using larvicidal agents. Certain other measures to control mosquitoes, including the use of genetically engineered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as previously performed to prevent dengue infection by reducing the natural population of mosquitoes, is under investigation.

Caution should be exercised to prevent local transmission of Zika virus from infected patients to uninfected mosquitoes. Mosquito bites should be avoided during initial stages of Zika infection owing to high viremia. This reduces infection of mosquitoes and prevents local spread of viral illness. Various control measures have been advised since the global rise in incidence of Zika virus infections.

In November 2017, the EPA registered a novel biopesticide (ZAP Males) in an attempt to control populations of Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquitoes). In this approach, male mosquitoes of this species are infected with a strain of Wolbachia that prevents healthy offspring when the infected males mate with Aedes albopictus females. This has been approved in twenty US states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia. [34]

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