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Division of Disease Control

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Mosquitoes & Prevention

The most common way people get Zika is through bites from an infected Aedes species mosquito. Aedes aegypti, the main type of mosquito responsible for the Zika outbreak is not currently found in Philadelphia. A related mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is found in Philadelphia but cannot pass Zika to humans as well as Aedes aegypti does.

What You Can Do to Prevent Mosquitoes and Mosquito Bites
  • Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened places.
  • Repair broken screens on windows and doors so mosquitoes can’t get inside your house.
  • Wear insect repellent when outdoors.
    • Make sure the repellent contains an EPA-registered product
      • DEET (20% DEET or higher also prevents tick bites)
      • Picaridin
      • Oil of lemon eucalyptus
      • IR3535
    • Follow instructions since repellent needs to be reapplied for ongoing protection
    • Apply sunscreen before repellent
    • An adult should apply repellent to children. DEET can be used on children 2 months and older.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should only be used on children 3 years of age and older.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves when weather permits.
  • Treat clothing with permethrin (travelers, outdoor workers or others who spend a lot of time outside).
  • Once or twice a week, check and empty sources of standing water outside your home where you work and play. Mosquitoes can breed and grow in very small containers that fill with rain water, such as bottle caps and cups. See our checklist for reducing standing water.
  • Call our Mosquito Complaint hotline at 215-685-9000 to report mosquito problems in your neighborhood.

Vector Control in Philadelphia

Throughout mosquito season, our staff sets mosquito traps all over the city to test if any of the mosquitoes are carrying diseases and to see where we should work to reduce their numbers. We also apply larvacide, a compound that keeps mosquito larvae from growing into adult mosquitoes, to more than 40,000 storm water inlets. Sometimes, if mosquitoes get bad enough in a particular area, we may spray mosquito pesticide to kill the fully grown mosquitoes. PDPH uses Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pesticides to fight mosquitoes. We do not use DDT.

Our routine mosquito trapping helps to track where Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are in the City and to prevent and reduce problems due to this type of mosquito. This trapping also will let us know if Aedes aegypti, the mosquito causing the Zika outbreak, has moved into Philadelphia.

CDC: Mosquito Control

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