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Using Repellent Products to Protect against Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

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Recent outbreaks of mosquito-borne viral illnesses in Puerto Rico and Hawaii have raised questions about how to protect against the mosquitoes that transmit dengue, Zika, and other viral diseases (Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti).

Insect repellents registered by the EPA can be expected to repel these mosquitoes, provided the EPA-approved labeling says the product is for use to protect against mosquitoes in general or against Aedes mosquitoes in particular. EPA must have reviewed and accepted data to support these claims. 

Insect repellents are one part of a more comprehensive program to control mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as dengue or Zika. Avoiding or preventing bites can help prevent transmission of dengue and any other vector-borne diseases. You can, for example, exclude mosquitoes from your home by using window and door screens. Dressing in light-colored clothing, long pants, and long sleeves, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present, and taking other actions such as removing sources of standing water to prevent breeding can also help.

When using repellents, always follow label directions and safety precautions.

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Finding EPA-Registered Mosquito Adulticides and Larvicides

The National Pesticide Information Center's NPRO portal  Exitis a public access point to the EPA's registered pesticide database. NPIC is an EPA information-sharing partner, and NPRO allows searches for pesticides that are registered against specific pests (such as Aedes mosquitoes), specific active ingredients, use sites (such as Ultra Low Volume, Institution, Outdoors, etc.), or Pesticide Types (such as Repellent or Feeding Depressant), then filter the results for actively registered products. NPRO has a type-ahead feature that suggests terms in the database based on the words you type, which makes it easier to find the proper search terms.

For example, someone who is interested in products that are registered for use in Ultra-Low Volume public health applications to combat Aedes species mosquitoes would follow these steps to search the NPRO portal:

  1. Under the AI/Pest/Site tab at http://npic.orst.edu/NPRO/, Exit type in Aedes in the Pest box and select Aedes Mosquito from the type-ahead list.
  2. In the site box, type in ultra and select all of the Ultra Low Volume search terms in the type-ahead list.
  3. Click "Search All Tabs," which will bring up a list of active and cancelled products.
  4. To filter the results to only active products, next to "Product legend (click to filter)," click "Active"

This will bring up a list of four active products. Clicking on each one brings up its main NPRO product page with links to the latest EPA-approved label. For other search results that do not link to the EPA label, copy the EPA Reg. No. of the product and paste it into EPA's Pesticide Product Label System to bring up the EPA-approved master labels for the products.

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