|Photo by Freeimages.com/Yaroslav B|
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) are urging all Caribbean countries and the national hotel and tourism associations and hotels in the region to diligently work to control the mosquito population in light of the recent reports of the Zika virus.
In addition, CTO and CHTA are working diligently with public health authorities in the Caribbean to mitigate the effects of the Zika virus.
Zika, also known as ZIKV, is spread by the Aedes genus of mosquito, in particular the Aedes aegypti.
CTO and CHTA are in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases that have now surfaced in some Caribbean destinations, and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors.
"We are in communication with our respective stakeholders and are observing national, regional and international health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases which can be found in tropical countries as well as the warmer regions of the U.S.," said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the CTO, in a written release.
With more than 700 islands in 30 territories in the Caribbean, conditions will vary from one nation to another.
"An aggressive vector control program by hotels and governments is essential as is public awareness and training directed towards employees, businesses and governments," said Frank Comito, director general and CEO of CHTA.
CHTA and CTO are working collaboratively with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and this week will begin to roll out additional initiatives to support on-the-ground efforts.
Comito noted that CHTA is scheduling a webinar for later this week titled "The Facts About Zika and How to Mitigate Its Impact."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Level Two Alert (practice enhanced precautions) for travelers to the Caribbean and specifies those countries which have confirmed cases to date. The alert and other preventive and helpful information for hotels and travelers can be found at www.cdc.gov/zika/.
Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), is providing disease prevention and control measures for travelers coming to the Caribbean. This information is based on currently available scientific evidence and has been adapted and prepared for the current Caribbean situation.
Zika was first detected in the Americas in 2014 and since then has spread to several other countries and territories. The most common symptoms of Zika infection are mild fever and skin rash, usually accompanied by conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and general feeling of illness that begins 2-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya and can last 2- 7 days.
Research thus far indicates that it cannot be transmitted person to person by close or casual contact with an infected person or through the air, food or water, according to CARPHA.