As many travelers are concerned about recent news about the Zika virus we felt it was important to send out this informative announcement.
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. It is similar to yellow fever and dengue fever.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe illness requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
Until more is known, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant as it is suspected of being linked to birth defects in babies and to a rare neurological disorder.
In the tropics it is difficult to avoid “mosquito” season as mosquitoes thrive in the year-round warm weather.
So the best advice to travelers to protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. Use insect repellent, wear loose long sleeved shirts and long pants and stay at lodges/hotels with screened in rooms.
The Costa Rica Government’s Health Ministry has appointed a task force to deal with the Zika virus. Public awareness campaigns are underway to educate locals on how to avoid creating habitats for mosquitoes to live and breed in such as small ponds and containers, discarded tires or industrial containers, construction ditches or trenches, clogged drains. They plan weekly fumigations of potential mosquito breeding sites.
There are wide variety of insect repellents, and we recommend that clients research and bring their own insect repellent since some can cause severe skin reactions. Our guides and drivers will have insect repellant available if someone forgets theirs.
We recommend travelers apply insect repellent to uncovered skin surfaces every day and especially when outdoors. When using sunscreen, it is best to apply it before insect repellent.
To reduce risk of mosquito bites on hikes we will avoid places where mosquitoes are most likely to hatch and breed, like standing water (puddles, vast swamps, marshes).
I hope this information is helpful. We are all concerned about consequences of the Zika virus and will be closely monitoring the situation.
We consider that Costa Rica continues to be a safe place to vacation. Just take few extra precautions!