Agent of the sanitary department destroys mosquito larvae nests in Cayenne, Frfench Guiana. (Photo credit: JODY AMIET/AFP/Getty Images)
By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 21, 2017: Reports of Zika cases in the Caribbean may have disappeared from the headlines and even PAHO’s latest epidemiological reports show few to no reported cases, but the US Centers For Disease Control is still warning those thinking of traveling to several Caribbean nations about the virus especially as the weather gets warmer, News Americas Now has found.
Thirty-seven Caribbean countries, including the US territories of Puerto Rico and the USVI, remain on the CDC’s travel advisory list as a “Level 2” alert, which advises travelers to “Practice Enhanced Precautions.” The CDC on March 10, 2017 updated its travel advisory for the islands.
The advisory could put a dent in Caribbean tourism numbers from the US this summer.
The countries still on the CBD travel advisory list are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Guadeloupe, Haiti, French Guiana, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a US territory, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Saba, Saint Bathelemy, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands.
The CDC says mosquitoes in the 31 countries are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people. They are urging pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant to avoid travel to the countries of the list and warning travelers who do travel to the region to use condoms or not have sex during their trip since sexual transmission of the Zika virus is possible.
The protection advice for travelers remains:
Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), IR3535, or 2-undecanone (methyl nonyl ketone) as directed. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children older than 2 months. (OLE should not be used on children younger than 3 years.)
Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors. Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
Meanwhile, if you do travel and feel sick and think you may have Zika upon your return:
Talk to your doctor if you develop a fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Tell him or her about your travel;
Take acetaminophen (paracetamol) to relieve fever and pain. Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and;
Get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids.