In Brazil repellent sales surge as Zika fear spreads

Global Business

In Brazil repellent sales surge as Zika fear spreads 1

The Zika virus has now spread all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil has bore the brunt of the outbreak. It has the most infections. With a vaccine still years away, Brazil is turning to an age old technology to fight the virus.

CCTV’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio de Janeiro.
Follow Lucrecia C. Franco on Twitter @LucreciaFranco

In Brazil repellent sales surge as Zika fear spreads

In Brazil repellent sales surge as Zika fear spreads

The Zika virus has now spread all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil has bore the brunt of the outbreak. It has the most infections. With a vaccine still years away, Brazil is turning to an age old technology to fight the virus.

It is summer in Rio de Janeiro, and the entire Southern hemisphere. It is the peak season for both mosquitoes and exposed skin on display.

In Brazil repellents have become crucial as the Zika virus has been linked to a surging number of babies born with abnormally small heads. Many repellants and other products to keep insects away like citronella candles are getting harder and harder to find.

Since the Zika virus was detected some 10 months ago, sales of repellent in Brazil rose by one third last year, the highest on record.  According to consumer research company Nielsen sales are expected to grow even more this year as the outbreak and fear spread.

Dermatologist Juliana Neiva says that while citronella evaporates very rapidly, only repellants containing ingredients such as Deet and Icaridin are effective against the mosquito that transmits Zika.

Just the images of babies with microcephaly are painful enough to create panic, especially among pregnant women, says psychoanalyst Alberto Goldin, even if the link is not 100 percent proven.

Though experts say much remains unknown about the virus, Brazil has launched a nationwide “war” on the mosquito that carries Zika. With no vaccine or treatment, prevention against bites is the only winning strategy available.