Cashing in on Zika One Insect Repellent at a Time

March 4, 2016
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick

The Zika virus outbreak has been receiving extensive media coverage, with new discoveries and information reported seemingly every day. With comparatively little known about this virus until recently, many people are asking if it is really as serious as some media outlets are letting on.

The Zika virus outbreak has been receiving extensive media coverage, with new discoveries and information reported seemingly every day. With comparatively little known about this virus until recently, many people are asking if it is really as serious as some media outlets are letting on.

If you ask President Obama, efforts to combat the mosquito-borne illness are worth $1.8 billion. But if you ask Republicans in Congress, some of them will bring up abortion and point out that funds are still set aside for Ebola complications. But various companies are (smartly?) cashing in on the public’s concerns over the recent outbreak.

There’s a “Prevent Zika Virus Kit” for sale on eBay for $59.99 — but the listing says the merchandise is worth $110.18. The kit includes insect repellent spray, lotion, wipes, and access to “expert” Zika alerts and prevention measures. So, basically, for three Jacksons you can get several varieties of insect repellents and Zika news.

  • Related: MD Mag: Zika Survey Results Are In

Rainbow Technology Corporation, a company that markets specialty products, is featuring insect repellent for skin ($3.84) and clothing ($9.71) to fight Zika. The Miami-based men’s sportswear company, Hook & Tackle, teamed up with Insect Shield to develop permethrin-treated clothing to combat the spread of the virus. The fishing publication Coastal Angler Magazine featured an ad for it in its March 2016 issue.

But possibly the most interesting of them all is the BugsAway Leilani Multi-Way Dress. It’s essentially a calf-length sleeveless dress with permethrin in the fabric. But with a $25.99 price tag, one can’t help but to think, “What if an infected mosquito lands on your arms… or chest… or ankles…?” Notably, the company makes a range of clothing to repel the disease-carrying mosquitos.

So, are all of these products simply insect repellents that are being marketed using the word “Zika”?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually mentions Insect Shield and BugsAway on its website as commercially available protection options.

Since there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Zika virus — and it’s strongly linked to the infant brain-shrinking condition, microcephaly, as well as the paralyzing disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome – taking preventive measures is the best defense. Suddenly, that calf-length dress doesn’t sound like a bad idea…

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