The United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, has issued a travel notice for Saba due to the presence of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
In the advisory, which was issued on Saturday, the CDC said it is working with other public health officials in the Caribbean and Latin American region to monitor ongoing Zika virus transmission.
In posting the latest Zika virus travel notice for Saba, the CDC said it has also issued travel notices for people traveling to destinations with Zika. These previously included Barbados, Bonaire, Aruba, Curaçao, French Guiana, Cuba, Dominica, Belize, US Virgin Islands, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Dutch St. Maarten, French St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Anguilla, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Eustatius, Suriname, St. Barths and Jamaica.
The CDC warned that travellers to areas with cases of Zika virus infection are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. “Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime biters,” the CDC said. “They also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika virus. The best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.”
Until more is known, the CDC said it will continue to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take a number of precautions. It said pregnant women should not travel to any area with Zika. If they must travel to or live in one of these areas, “talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites,” the US health agency said.
To date there have been two confirmed cases of Zika on Saba. The first local case of Zika was reported on the island early July. The second case concerned an imported infection in June.
Despite the small number of infections, the Department of Agriculture, Hygiene and Vector Control has launched door-to-door inspections to reduce the number of mosquito breeding grounds in and around private homes and businesses.
The Department of Public Health has distributed mosquito traps and mosquito sprays were distributed during Saba Carnival, which ended Sunday. The Department has mosquito nets available for pregnant women.
Commissioner of Health Rolando Wilson stated that everyone on Saba has a task in reducing the risk of a Zika infection. “Without mosquitos no illnesses can be spread. Therefore remove, treat, empty or cover all open containers around your house weekly. Do not litter because empty bottles or cans are perfect breeding grounds,” Commissioner Wilson said last month.
The Daily Herald.