Zika virus continues to spread throughout the world and the CDC has listed travel notices for the areas where this virus exists. Many of these countries are those visited by cruise ships.
The virus is carried by the Aedes mosquito and there is no vaccine for it. Take the same precautions that you would for Dengue and Malaria, which also occur in many of the same countries along with Zika.
MedjetAssist, has provided the following advice for travelers:
Zika Virus has caused concern for many travelers. The single-stranded RNA is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of a mosquito (Aedes species). Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, and headache. Only about one out of five infected becomes ill. Pregnant women, regardless of their trimester, should take extra caution when considering where they’re traveling to, as the virus can cause birth defects. Here are some tips to prevent getting infected when traveling:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness and follow the directions for use.
If you have a baby or child:
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
- Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
- Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
- Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
- Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully. Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
Some of these tips are important especially if you are doing a pre- or post-cruise land tour. Many of these precautions decrease your likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes, which is never pleasant. Insect repellent is often one of those forgotten items and can be pricey abroad. Add it to your packing list.