Mosquito repellents protect against West Nile Virus

Mosquito repellents protect against West Nile Virus New human cases of West Nile Virus illness in South Dakota in recent days underscore the importance of using mosquito repellents.

�We really do need to be absolutely certain that when we are outdoors, particularly after dusk and through the evening and early morning hours, we wear personal insect repellent,� South Dakota State University Pesticide Education Coordinator Jim Wilson said. �Products containing DEET or picaridin have proven to be the most effective.�

SDSU research shows wide variations in the populations of Culex tarsalis, the main vector of West Nile Virus, from location to location in South Dakota.

�These numbers vary tremendously between different locations, so I think it just makes sense again, whenever we are outside, to make sure we are wearing insect repellent.�

SDSU Extension Entomologist Mike Catangui added that in situations when it�s necessary to be outside at peak times of mosquito activity, individuals can consider wearing clothing treated with permethrin. Though one of the most underutilized methods of preventing mosquito bites, it may be one of the most effective.

Permethrin is both an insect repellent and a pesticide, so it actually kills mosquitoes that come in contact with treated clothing. It also offers protection against other pests such as chiggers, biting flies, and ticks. Once applied to a garment, permethrin offers protection for up to six weeks, even after repeated washings.

Permethrin must be applied to the clothing before being worn. It cannot be directly applied to the skin. Always follow label directions carefully when using any pesticide product.

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