Zika Consumer Advisory

On August 3rd, 2015, the Attorney General sent cease and desist letters to seven companies who were deceptively marketing products as “Zika-preventive.” The companies had marketed their products with claims that they prevented or protected against Zika virus, even though the products are known to be ineffective for that purpose.

Zika virus is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, although it can also be spread by sexual contact or blood contact. Zika virus can cause symptoms including mild fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Zika poses a serious threat to women who are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, because it may cause microcephaly, a serious birth defect that affects brain development.

The Attorney General wants New Yorkers to understand what products will actually protect them against Zika virus. Consumers should look for EPA-registered insect repellents containing at least one of the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel and icaridin), IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and Para-Menthane-Diol.

Only products containing at least one of these ingredients have been recommended by the CDC as the safe and effective way of protecting against the Zika virus.

Consumers should also be aware that there is no cure for the Zika virus as of this date, and products claiming to be cures are deceptive.

New York consumers are also advised to follow these CDC recommendations to protect against the Zika virus:

Avoid travel in areas with active mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus. These areas can be found on the CDC’s website.

If one must travel to one of the identified areas, consumers should:

  • Wear pants and long sleeves,
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and screens on windows and doors,
  • Sleep under mosquito bed nets, and
  • Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pre-treated clothing

New Yorkers should also consult the New York State and New York City departments of health for further information about Zika is impacting local communities.

The companies that the Attorney General sent cease and desist letters to are:

  • Wildheart Outdoors Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
  • MosQUITo Repellent Bracelet Wristband Band
  • Neor Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
  • Kenza High Quality Zika Mosquito Repellent Smiley Patch
  • Mobile Pro Gear ZIKA Shield Mosquito Repellent Bands
  • STAR Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
  • iGear iGuard 2.0 Ultrasonic Insect Pest Repellent

The office’s investigation into this issue remains ongoing. Consumers should be wary when shopping for supposed Zika-repellents, as there are many different companies and products peddling ineffective repellents. Consumers should be particularly wary of ultrasonic devices, Vitamin B products and botanical oil-based products, which have been proven to have limited effectiveness, or to not work at all.