BRADES, Montserrat, Tuesday November 22, 2016 – It’s not the kind of news Montserrat was hoping tourists coming to the tiny Caribbean island would hear, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has issued an advisory after public health officials reported that the Zika virus has been detected there.
It doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t travel to the island, though.
But because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, the CDC recommends that travelers to the British Overseas Territory protect themselves from mosquito bites.
- 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). Always use 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible, so travelers have also been advised to either use condoms or not have sex during their trip.
To date, 48 countries and territories in the Americas have confirmed transmission of Zika virus disease by mosquitoes since 2015. Five countries in the Americas have reported sexually transmitted Zika cases.
Many people infected with Zika virus do not get sick. Among those who do develop symptoms, sickness is usually mild, with symptoms that last for several days to a week.