Zika Virus Update for Spring Travelers
“We know we are going to see Zika again this Spring,”
It’s been more than a year since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued the 1st warning about travel to Brazil and the Caribbean because of the Zika Virus outbreaks.
From January to August of Y 2016, the Virus dominated headlines in the US, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and sent travel agents and hoteliers into tailspins.
Hotels in Zika Zones saw business losses as deep as 30%, while an unprecedented boom brought 2X as many travelers to a flurry of resorts in Zika-free Hawaii.
Now, for the last few months, Zika has been out of sight, out of mind.
The Big Q: Does that mean you should stop worrying about it?
The Big A: Below is what the experts have to say about it.
“Zika was never eradicated from the 30 Caribbean islands and 18 countries in South America where it appeared last year, and the disease is now showing up everywhere from Southeast Asia to the South Pacific.”
We have not been hearing about Zika lately because it is Winter, the time when mosquitoes do not thrive. Thus leaving the story on the “back burner”
But, you may be surprised to learn that between the months of November and January, the CDC has logged almost 4,000 new cases of Zika in the US, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
“The disease as we understand it now is scarier than we originally thought,” said the Associate Dean of New York University’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. “It’s not quite the same as SARS or Ebola or other diseases that are contained geographically,” she explained, adding that other mosquito-borne diseases like malaria or dengue fever carry less stigma because they are curable.
“We know we are going to see Zika again this Spring,” she said.
Miami has served as a useful case study.
When the city saw its first few cases of Zika transmission last Summer, the local government acted quickly, enforcing a tri-partite strategy of aerial spraying, manual spraying, and local awareness that eradicated the disease.
Miami Beach is a beacon of hope that Zika can be contained, and other destinations can replicate the model to contain outbreaks, or even prevent them, if they have the organizational means and resources to do so.
Other locales have managed to stay totally free of Zika.
Bermuda has never appeared on the CDC Travel Notice list, and neither have Uruguay, Chile, and Hawaii. And there is now compelling evidence that Puerto Rico has curtailed the number of cases dramatically.
Further, according to former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief and public health expert 12 Zika vaccines are currently in trial phases, and at least 1 of them is entering early human studies. When that happens, Zika will be no different than malaria: a mosquito-borne virus that can be reliably combated whenever exposure puts you at risk he said
A safe and effective vaccine is still a few years away.
Until then some experts see Zika becoming endemic, just like malaria, chikungunya, and dengue. “My suspicion is that over a period of a couple of years, the people most exposed to Zika will become immune to it—which will make the rates of infection go down a lot,” he said.
His advice: If you have a destination in mind for your next trip, sign up for text alerts from the CDC here to get the most up-to-the-minute information.
For many travelers, exposure to Zika will become inevitable.
“The comfort level for travelers has risen [when it comes to going to the Caribbean] now that Zika has been out of the conversation for a while,” said a luxury travel specialist. Business was up 43% in the Caribbean and Mexico last month, and Spring break bookings are almost back to their normal volume after dipping by up to 30% in Y 2016. “Only 15% of travelers are even asking about Zika anymore, compared to about 70% last year,” he added.
“What we are noticing is more of a wait-and-see approach,” he said, pointing to a spike in last-minute warm weather trips; likely, travelers want to feel as confident as possible that another Zika outbreak is not looming.
Tips: Avoid the beach at twilight, dawn, and dusk. Pack a cover-up and wear it. Request a room on your hotel’s higher floors. And not forget your bug spray preferably Organic and non toxic ones.
Last August during the height of the Zika virus panic I met and spoke at lenghht with R. Charles Murray, Founder/CEO Penta 5 USA and learned that he has succeeded in developing a new class of products that can halt a Mosquitoe’s appetite for human Blood.
Penta 5’s products are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Marketed under the brand name SECURE™ no-bite the line consists of lotions and “Zone Attractants.”
The latter take the form of pouches that are filled with dry and liquid patented compounds which when combined and shaken produce a gas emission that attracts mosquitoes.
The emission confounds the mosquito’s appetite for a protein “bloodmeal” and in so doing ensures a zone of up to 400 sqf for up to 15 days.
Continual use maintains a safe no-Bite Zone. No less effective, the SECURE™ Anytime™ lotion permits users to work and play in areas outside the zone infested by “bloodmeal” seeking mosquitoes without the fear of being bitten.
Mr. Murray told me that “SECURE™ no-Bite Zone attractants have been shown to effectively reduce mosquito populations and therefor reduce the risk of dangerous bites. Also, that only the female mosquitoe seek ‘bloodmeals,’ meaning the iron and proteins of which are used to form eggs.
SECURE™ no-bite Zone 15 day emission confounds the female mosquito causing her to seek nectar as a replacement meal. Penta5’s SECURE™ Anytime™ lotion allows people to move outside of the Zone, remain bite-free and significantly, the product poses no threat to children, pets or wildlife.”
Under test in both laboratory and outdoor conditions for the past year the release of SECURE™ no-bite products now as the Zika virus breaks out over South Florida is an important safety issue for the population and the commercial interest of the State of Florida.
Penta 5 USA LLC is the wellness product division of PPi Technologies GROUP. The PPi Technologies GROUP of companies are all based in Sarasota, Florida. For more information go to: penta5usa.com/
Have a terrific weekend.