WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The New York state attorney general is making sure companies don't cash in as fear spreads over the Zika virus with a case turning up this week in Florida.
Six of seven companies that received cease-and-desist letters from Attorney General Eric t. Schneiderman for deceptively marketing products as “Zika-preventive” have withdrawn their claims, according to his office.
In announcing the action Thursday, Schneiderman said, "I am pleased that the action my office undertook has led to the immediate removal of nearly all the deceptive Zika-related claims that we targeted."
"We won’t let fraudsters take advantage of a public health crisis, and this should serve as a warning to other companies who seek to engage in the same dishonest practices. I urge consumers to educate themselves about the repellents that will actually protect you against Zika to avoid being fooled by these outrageous scams."
The companies had marketed their products, claiming they prevented or protected against Zika virus, even though the products are known to be ineffective for that purpose, Schneiderman said.
Within 24 hours the six companies withdrew the misleading advertising claims, according to Schneiderman.
A spokesman for his office said seven letters went out and six companies withdrew advertising claims, and that the investigation continues.
Zika is spread primarily from a bite by an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika, according to the CDC.
The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes, said the CDC.
The following companies have completely withdrawn their advertising online:
- Wildheart Outdoors Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelet.
- MosQUITo Repellent Bracelet Wristband Band.
- iGear iGuard 2.0 Ultrasonic Insect Pest Repellent.
- Kenza High Quality Zika Mosquito Repellent Smiley Patch.
- Mobile Pro Gear ZIKA Shield Mosquito Repellent Bands.
- STAR Ultrasonic Pest Repeller.