The 7 Zika Preventive Behaviors Selected for Prioritization

BehaviorSummary of Evidence
Personal Protection
Applying mosquito repellent (DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or lemon eucalyptus oil, only), using each product as directed, for duration of pregnancy, to reduce risk of Zika transmission through mosquito bites.Application of mosquito repellent is highly efficacious in preventing mosquito bites, and thus the potential of vector transmission of Zika to an individual. This behavior is within the control of pregnant women and their male partners. Users should be thoroughly counseled on proper product application. Women intending to become pregnant should also consider using repellent.
Using condoms to prevent sexual transmission of Zika in pregnancy.Condom use to prevent sexual transmission of Zika is highly efficacious, but sexual transmission may be a small portion of overall transmission. This behavior should be prioritized for pregnant women and their partners because pregnant women are at risk for negative pregnancy outcomes.
Household and Community Vector Control
Regularly removing unintentional standing water both inside and outside the house and in communal areas.This is a potentially efficacious behavior to reduce mosquito populations, and thus reduce the potential for individual- and population-level risk of Zika transmission. Promotion of the behavior must be accompanied by specific, focused instructions that target the highest density breeding sites and be conducted weekly in homes and communal areas to be effective. Efficacy is highest in areas where there is strong community engagement, including active mosquito searches in homes and communities and awareness of the mosquito life cycle.
Covering water storage containers at all times with a tight-fitting cover that does not warp or touch the water.Covering long-term water storage containers has moderate potential efficacy in reducing breeding sites if a tight- fitting, long-lasting lid is available. Covering short-term water storage containers has less potential efficacy, as frequent lid use can result in wear and tear and render the lids ineffective or counterproductive.
Scrubbing walls of water storage containers weekly to remove mosquito eggs.Scrubbing walls of water storage containers weekly is efficacious in removing mosquito eggs and can thus reduce the potential for individual- and population-level risk of Zika transmission. However, the specific cleaning steps that eliminate mosquito eggs must be explicitly described.
Behaviors That Enable Prevention
Seeking antenatal care to monitor pregnancy and discuss Zika risk and prevention.Seeking antenatal care enables providers to counsel pregnant women on Zika prevention, which can increase the chances of pregnant women taking protective measures and reducing the risk of vertical transmission of Zika from mother to child.
Seeking counseling from a trained provider on modern family planning methods if not planning on getting pregnant.Family planning use (for those not intending on getting pregnant) is directly linked to reducing the risk of vertical transmission of Zika. Family planning counseling should be done by a trained health care provider.