What is Zika?
“Zika” is a disease caused by the Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
The first human cases of Zika were detected in 1952. Since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
WHAT IS PUERTO RICO DOING TO CONTAIN ZIKA?
The government of Puerto Rico is working actively and aggressively in three key areas: preparation, prevention, and protection.
- We have prepared our residents by reinforcing the vital importance of using an EPA-approved mosquito repellent daily, and wearing proper clothing to deter and prevent mosquito bites.
- As with most mosquito-borne illnesses, the people of Puerto Rico know that the most effective way to contain Zika is through prevention. We have a vigorous effort underway to eliminate standing water, seal septic tanks, and eradicate mosquito-breeding sites. We have established communication channels so our people are immediately able to report high-risk areas.
- And, we are protecting our visitors by spraying public areas and working with our world-class hotels and other tourist destinations to ensure that leisure and business travelers are following the CDC guidelines.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES?
- Wear insect repellent
While outdoors, it is recommended that you apply EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20-35% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR3535 as directed on skin and clothing. Take special precaution during the day and at dusk, when mosquitoes are most prevalent.
- Cover up
Wear loose fitting clothes with long sleeves and long pants to help prevent mosquitoes from reaching the skin and to retain less heat.
- Keep mosquitos outside
Stay and sleep in screened-in or air conditioned rooms.
Keep your hotel windows and doors closed and always keep the screens closed if possible.
“We are doing everything in our power to protect the public and ensure that visitors can have a worry-free vacation.”
Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company
HOW TO PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES
- Look for EPA-approved mosquito repellents that contain active ingredients such as DEET or picaridin.
- Use repellents on exposed skin or clothing, reapplying as directed.
- If using sunscreen: apply sunscreen first, then mosquito repellent.
- When inside, keep screen doors and windows closed and turn on air conditioning.
- Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Avoid sweet-smelling perfume.