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Zika threat propels rapid sales of apparels with built in repellents

The spread of Zika virus has led to an increase in sales of apparels with built-in insect repellent. Now a supplier has recently unveiled a line of insect-repelling activewear in response to the concern. Since early 2015 when Brazil first notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of an illness characterized by a skin rash in its northeastern states, the Zika virus has been rapidly spreading across the Western Hemisphere. The virus is now present in almost every country from the United States, through Central America and south to Argentina.

So far, Florida’s Miami-Dade County is the only area with cases of Zika fever being passed via mosquito bite in the United States while all other US cases are travel-associated. In other words, this means that patients traveled to countries that had active Zika transmission, contracted it there and brought it back to the U.S.

Expert Brand has officially announced it has partnered with startup Nobitech to offer a line of insect-repelling activewear. The collection includes T-shirts, pullovers, hoodies and pants treated with Nobitech’s Skintex technology, which contains Permethrin, a synthetic insecticide that repels ticks, ants, flies, fleas, chiggers, midges and mosquitoes, including those carrying the Zika virus.
Other companies like OMNi Apparel Inc. and Gamehide offer apparels treated with Insect Shield that uses a formulation also containing Permethrin. OMNi Apparel has been a licensee of Insect Shield International since 2008 and manufactures and distributes Insect Shield/Zorrel Dri-Balance Moisture Management Tees.

The insect shield process involves binding a proprietary Permethrin formula, a registered EPA product since 1977 that’s proven effective in repelling insects, to fabric fibers, resulting in an odorless insect protection that lasts the apparel’s lifetime, the equivalent of 70 launderings.