When Rory McIlroy said he would take advice on going to Brazil for the Olympics as he is planning on having children, it put a new spotlight on the Zika virus. The Department of Health also changed the status of the virus to “notifiable”, and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has set up an advisory group on the disease.
As summer approaches and the weather warms up, the Zika virus is spreading. Dozens of countries have now reported incidences of the virus. It is in almost all South American countries, South Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico and Cape Verde Islands.
It is expected it will have arrived in southern parts of the United States by the end of the summer. As there is no vaccine yet for the Zika virus, the only positive thing to do is try not to be bitten.
In order to do this, apply sunscreen first then use insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. Keep your arms and legs covered, the mosquito that transmits the virus, Aedes Aegypti, is more likely to bite during daytime.
Stay in accommodation that has air conditioning or insect screens on doors and windows (if not possible, sleep under mosquito nets). Permethrin-treated bed nets are more effective due to being treated with insecticide.
The virus is not spread from person to person except through sexual activity. The virus is transmitted in semen, so practice safe sex and use a condom. Women planning on getting pregnant should check with their doctor before travel and after. It is now possible to identify if you have been bitten and are carrying the virus.
Symptoms of the virus are a mild fever and generally feeling not well, though most people do not show symptoms.
Keep up to date with the latest news on hpsc.ie and cdc.gov
Joan loves to travel, write about, hear about it, see it, talk about it, anything about travel.