A level 2 alert has been issued by the USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The alert follows the discovery that the Zika virus is present in the local mosquitoes in Grenada, a South Caribbean island nation, and the disease is spreading amongst people.
Travelers are urged to take precautions against mosquito bites. The advice is much the same as that given to people who #Travel to countries where malaria is prevalent. Taking the time to make a few simple precautions every day is time well invested. #Health warning information can make a huge difference to the quality of travel experience.
Cover up with long pants, skirts, and shirts. In hot countries, light cotton will not become unbearable to wear. This needs to be done especially as late afternoon and evening approach because this is when mosquitoes tend to be more active. In cool and dank jungle areas mosquitoes never seem to rest, so cover up well during such explorations.
Insect repellent is a must. Some countries are not big on stocking repellent, so it is best to buy before your journey. Repellents should be EPA registered and should contain DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE). CDC stress that these repellents must always be used according to the instructions.
Tents and clothing.
These days tents, clothing and mosquito nets can be treated with permethrin, a type of insecticide that kills or keeps insects away. These can be bought in most top brand outdoor retail shops. The insecticide has been used in the USA army for years. The National Pesticide Information Center has a lot of information about the use of permethrin on their website.
Choose accommodation with care.
It is best to try and book accommodation that has air-conditioning and insect screens on the doors and windows. Campers must keep their tents zipped up to keep the mosquitoes out. If you are going to use an insect killer spray, follow the instructions and use it to spray inside your room or tent at least two hours before going into it to sleep.
Use a mosquito net.
Always use a mosquito net. They not only keep the mosquitoes away but are a deterrent to other biting insects and spiders.
The Zika virus is also spread by sexual contact. In this day and age of AIDS and HIV, it should not need to be mentioned, but to reiterate: Use a rubber or abstain from sex. As they say in Lesotho, an AIDS-ridden country in Southern Africa, “if you don’t have a rubber there’ll be no hubba-hubba!”
Zika virus is usually weathered by most people with almost no side effects, but it can cause the debilitating Guillain-Barré syndrome, and is a great danger to unborn babies, who can suffer from microcephaly.