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NY AG Goes After Bogus Zika Products

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on August 08, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As soon as the first cases of the Zika virus began appearing in the U.S., people have been clamoring for a cure or at least a preventative. Since then, almost 2,000 cases of Zika have been reported in America (479 of them pregnant women) and some less scrupulous companies have stepped in with supposedly "Zika-preventive" products.

Many, if not all, of these products fail to live up to the billing, however, and the New York Attorney General has issued cease and desist letters to companies, demanding they stop advertising ineffective products as preventing or protecting against Zika transmission.

No Vaccine, No Cure

There's just one problem with "Zika-protective" or "Zika-preventive" products, and it's a big one. There is no vaccine that can prevent Zika, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is also no one medicine or treatment used to treat Zika. Therefore, any product that specifically advertised itself as protecting against or preventing Zika was overstating its effectiveness.

"Unfortunately," Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement, "some companies are taking advantage of public concern about Zika to peddle products that simply don't work. My office will not tolerate deceptive advertising of products that provide only a false sense of security against a real threat." Schneiderman later said that six of the seven companies that received cease and desist letters agreed to stop marketing their products as Zika prevention.

Don't Get Bit

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus, and as the CDC points out, the best way to prevent Zika transmission is to prevent mosquito bites. So well-known and effective mosquito repellents might do the trick. Just be wary of any bug spray that markets itself as Zika-specific.

Zika can also be transmitted through sex, so condoms and other barriers to protect against infection are recommended for those that have been diagnosed with Zika or have traveled to and from Zika hot spots. And if you live outside of New York, don't get fooled by Anti-Zika products on the shelves or online.

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