The Zika virus is in the news daily, and the US has issued its first internal travel warning since the time of Polio. Sadly, some industries and con-artists are profiting from this terrible disease. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, bug spray sales were up 648% as of June 2016. And con-artists have figured out numerous ways to take advantage of a fearful public.
Here are the latest Zika scams and tips to avoid them.
Bug-Repellent wristbands and stickers
Bug-repellent wristbands generally claim to work by creating a sort of insect-free bubble around the user. But Consumer Reports has tested some wristbands and found them to be ineffective at repelling mosquitoes. The American Mosquito Control Association has also advised consumers not to waste their money on these products. The New York Attorney General named several specific wristband products in a letter to ConsumerReports, including Wildheart Outdoors Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelet; MosQUITo Repellent Bracelet Wristband Band; and Neor Mosquito Repellent Bracelet. Earlier this year, the FTC fined another wristband maker, Viatek, $300,000 for false advertising. Stickers that are marketed to children and claim to repel mosquitoes are ineffective and a waste of money.
Ultrasonic Pest Repellers
Ultrasonic devices claim to emit high-frequency sounds that humans cannot hear, but drive pests, including mosquitoes, away. The problem is, there’s no proof that they work and further they may actually attract mosquitoes. Two brands to look out for: STAR Ultrasonic Pest Repeller and iGear iGuard 2.0 Ultrasonic Insect Pest Repeller. Additionally, the FTC is investigating several ultrasonic repellers for false advertising.
Be careful of natural or organic products that claim they have equal protection to DEET. After Consumer Reports did tests on several natural repellents, their findings concluded that they didn’t offer much protection against insects, even those products containing lemongrass. One product to look out for is Fit Organic Mosquito Repellent.
An Australian pharmaceutical company Starpharma, says that their gel-coated, anti-viral condoms offer near-total protection against sexually transmitted Zika.
But the CDC has said that there is no evidence that these condoms work any better than normal condoms at preventing transmission of Zika. And, there’s some reason for concern; one of the chemicals used in Starpharma’s anti-viral gel is dangerously similar to a chemical that has been shown to boost HIV transmission.
The American Mosquito Control Association says that many new contract insecticide sprayers have popped up and that not all of them are legitimate. Consumer protection bureaus are on high alert for companies that spray without proper licensing, experience, or equipment.
Here are tips on choosing a pest control service.
The SEC has issued an investor alert because of the rise in companies claiming to have developed products or services relating to Zika. If you decide to invest in any Zika-related investments proceed with extreme caution. If you’re purchasing stock, at the very least, make sure the company is registered with the SEC and that their trading privileges have not been suspended.
While scientists are scrambling to create a vaccine, the only sure way to avoid Zika is prevention. Here are tips on which repellents work.
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