There’s a lot of panic right now about the Zika virus since the type of mosquito spreading the virus is common in United States, South & Central America as well as the Caribbean and many other parts of the world.
Currently there are cases of local transmission in more than 20 countries and territories in the Americas right now, including the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
As a result many travelers all around the world are canceling their flights to regions where the Zika virus is detected. The travel industry is also responding positively making it easier for people to either cancel or reschedule their trips to any of these destinations.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES IN PLACE AT OUR VILLA
- Removed all identifiable potential mosquito breeding grounds
- Providing complimentary insect repellant
- COMING SOON: Safe fogging of VILLA and surroundings
Current situation in the Caribbean
The Caribbean recorded its first case of the Zika virus in December 2015. This means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with the virus which can be easily spread to people.
Health experts have refuted the wide spread notice that travelers should hold back on their travel plans for now to more than two dozen countries including Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St. Martin, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, a U.S territory.
Unlike the flu, transmitting Zika is high impossible through person-to-person contact. It can only be transmitted when an infected mosquito bites another person.
Regardless of these health issues, Jamaica is still considered one of the safest destinations for travel in the Caribbean. The government are putting up measures to contain the spread of the Zika Virus in the country.
What is the Zika Virus?
Zika Virus is a mosquito borne diseases that is essentially transmitted to people through mosquito bites. The virus is spread by the Aedes species mosquitoes mostly found in tropical regions. The virus belongs to the same family as West Nile, Dengue, Chikungunya and Yellow fever.
Unlike some of the viruses listed above, there is presently no cure to the Zika Virus, but the good news is scientists and researchers are working round the clock to find a vaccine that can prevent or even treat this infection. The virus connection to microcephaly has become a major concern for everyone.
Microcephaly, which causes severe developmental issues, is essentially a neurological disorder that causes newborns to have small heads. Since the discovery of Zika virus in Brazil from November 2015, the country alone has recorded over 4,000 cases of microcephaly in newborns from women who got infected with the virus during pregnancy.
Symptoms and diagnosis of the Zika Virus
Transmission of the Zika virus is primarily through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of the virus include red eye, joint pain, fever, headache as well as rash.
It is also important to know that over 80% of people infected with the virus have no idea they are infected. Symptoms can last for days to weeks. There has been a few number of reported cases of the Zika virus that requires hospitalization.
- The symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses such as dengue and chikungunya
- Should you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to see your doctor immediately
- If you have traveled to infected areas, tell your doctor
- Series of blood tests will be conducted to check for Zika or other similar viruses such as dengue and chikungunya
Zika Virus in Pregnancy
Pregnant women have a higher risk of getting infected with Zika virus than the rest of the population. May people including women may sometimes not know that they have the virus because the symptoms are not forthcoming.
Only one in every five persons infected with the virus develop mild symptoms. Zika virus is spread from a pregnant woman to her foetus especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, CDC has recommended the following precautions for the under listed group of people
If you are pregnant, it is advisable to reschedule or cancel your trip to places where transmission of Zika virus is ongoing. If you insist on traveling to any of these areas, then you should see your health provider for preventive measures and steps on how to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. If your male partner has traveled or resides in one these areas where Zika is ongoing, it is best to abstain from sex or use condoms regularly all through the period of your pregnancy.
Women who are trying to become pregnant
Before embarking on a trip, consult your doctor about your plans of becoming pregnant for detailed information about the risk involved. Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes while on your trip.
For the fact that Zika virus is a mosquito borne disease, CDC recommends that travelers to Jamaica should protect themselves from mosquito bites.
How to prevent Zika virus as a traveler
Presently, there is no vaccine to prevent or treat this virus so the only way of preventing the spread of Zika is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Here are some tips to help prevent mosquito bites.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants that will cover exposed skin
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contains DEET. Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children aged 2 months and above can use all EPA-registered insect repellents
- Buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Make sure you sleep in air-conditioned rooms
- Zika can be transmitted sexually. Avoid unprotected sex while traveling. Use condoms every time as they are one of the best ways to prevent most if not all of the sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.
- If you’ve just returned from a trip to an area with ongoing Zika transmission, it is highly recommended to use condoms consistently and correctly before engaging in sexual intercourse with your partner.
- Men who have a pregnant partner and are unable to abstain from sex should learn to use condoms all through the duration of the pregnancy
- Once you feel sick and develop symptoms of Zika – such as red eyes, joint pain or fever – do not hesitate to talk to your health practitioner. Tell him or her about your recent trip to an area with ongoing Zika transmission. Your doctor will conduct series of blood test for Zika virus infection.
- Take medicine such as paracetamol to relieve pain, drink plenty of water and rests. Also, try to prevent mosquito bites to avoid spreading the disease.
Jamaica’s response to the Zika outbreak
There’s absolutely no cause to worry for travelers planning their next trip to Jamaica. The Jamaican Ministry of Health has been using several mediums to spread the word across to its residents on the best ways to curtail the further spread of Zika virus.
Just recently the Jamaican Ministry of Health released a public service announcement using plenty of song and dance to enlighten its residents about the ongoing Zika virus outbreak.
The message, a reggae music video, tells people about the best way to prevent this mosquito borne disease. The Aedes mosquito, which spreads the virus, needs just a small pool of water to breed and the best option of eliminating them is by getting rid of stagnant water and using bug spray.
In a bid to prevent the spread of Zika virus in Jamaica, the local authorities have began
- Visiting homes and business to get rid of stagnant waters
- Advising residents to keep their environment clean by destroying areas where mosquitoes could breed
- Advising residents to use bug repellent always.
This action will wipe out mosquitoes in the country, thus mitigating the spread of Zika.
Jamaica Ocean View Villa
The Aedes mosquitoes tend to breed in area with small pool of water such as drainage systems, flowerpots, trash etc.
At Jamaica Ocean View Villa, we have a dedicated team of staff that ensures every corner of the house is well cleaned.
Our gardener is on ground to ensure the pool and yards are properly maintained and immaculate regularly. Each room is air conditioned to keep guests safe from mosquito bites.
Offering scenic views of the Rio Nuevo Bay, Jamaica Ocean View Villa is your number one accommodation option that offers top notch hospitality.
Clean environment, friendly staff, world class facilities and spectacular views makes Jamaican Ocean Villa the best place to stay for your vacation in Jamaica.
Jamaica Ocean View Villa will continues to work to ensure that our villa and surrounding areas remain free of the Zika virus.
Please contact us if you have any questions.