Insect repellents available that can stop mosquitoes with Zika virus

Photo courtesy CDC

(CNN) — Zika has the world’s attention. The dangerous virus has been linked to serious birth defects and presents other health risks.

The mosquito-borne virus is spreading around the globe and the CDC warns the type of mosquitoes that transmit the virus are already in the U.S.

But there is a way to stop these bugs before you get bit. Insect repellents are available now that can stop the mosquitoes from transmitting the dangerous virus to you.

But how do you know which spray is the most effective? Consumer Reports put 16 bug sprays to the test.

All in the name of science, “In a laboratory, very brave volunteers put their arms into a cage full of 200 disease-free mosquitoes and we used two types of mosquitoes,” said Trisha Calvo of Consumer Reports. “One is the Culex mosquito that carries West Nile and the other is the Aedes mosquito that carries Zika.”

The seemingly simple but painful test had great results.

“We found three ingredients that are safe for everyone to use, even pregnant women, and are very effective,” Calvo said, “and those are Deet, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and Picaridin.”

Sawyer Picaridin got top marks, followed by Ben’s Wilderness that has 30 percent Deet. Both kept mosquitoes away for up to eight hours.

And if you see clothing with the repellent built in, know this — the bugs may still come to you.

“Instead, they kill or incapacitate the bugs when they land,” Calvo said, “and hopefully that happens before the mosquitoes bite you.”

If you do wear the clothing, Calvo says you should also use bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away.

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