When we think of dangerous animals, poisonous snakes, lions, grizzly bears, and a host of other aggressive beasts come to mind. Yet it’s the diminutive mosquito that tops the list of all creatures when it comes to causing human death.

The Zika virus is a threat in the United States. Warm, wet weather will quickly turn into mosquito heaven, and we all need to take precautions, even in our back yards. CBS News offers the following recommendations.

When it comes to preventing mosquito-borne viruses, there are many steps that can be taken on both an individual and public health scale.

Experts say officials in affected areas should concentrate on active surveillance and mosquito control. “Namely to make sure that the mosquito vectors really are controlled, and you can do that by eliminating them and trying to eliminate them with insecticides,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News when speaking about Zika virus.


Mosquitoes thrive and breed in standing water, so eliminating water collected in gutters, catch basins, stagnant pools, and other areas can help keep them at bay. Individuals can also take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites. The CDC recommends the following tips.

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use an insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as directed.
  • Higher percentages of active ingredients provide longer protection. Use products with the following active ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), IR3535.
  • For outdoor activities, use permethrin-treated clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents. You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Use a bed net if you are sleeping in an area exposed to the outdoors.

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