Zika warning ahead of Trinidad carnival
Travellers intending to fly to Trinidad and Tobago for the upcoming carnival have been warned to protect themselves against the Zika virus, which has been detected in the Caribbean island.
A person can contract Zika through a bite from an infected mosquito or through sexual contact with a person with the virus.
Jeanne Atherden, Minister of Health, said: “I urge carnival goers to protect themselves against the Zika virus due to its potential to cause health problems, in particular developmental problems for a baby during pregnancy.
“Imported cases make local spread possible because a type of mosquito that could potentially transmit the virus is found in Bermuda.”
The mosquitoes that could transmit Zika usually bite during the day. The Health Ministry has advised people to:
1 Use an EPA-approved insect repellent every time you go outside, and follow label instructions;
2 Wear long sleeves and trousers when outside;
3 Protect your sexual partner for six months after travel in a Zika-affected area by using condoms correctly and consistently;
4 Use air conditioning or make sure doors and windows are screened to keep mosquitoes out;
5 Prevent mosquito bites for three weeks once home.
“Pregnant women, or those who wish to become pregnant, should avoid unnecessary travel to areas with known Zika virus, and if travel is necessary, take careful precautions against mosquito bites and sexual transmission,” said the Department of Health.
“All travellers should monitor their health. If travellers to Zika-affected areas experience fever with joint pains, rash or conjunctivitis (pink eye), they should seek medical attention and inform the healthcare provider of their recent travel history. There is currently no vaccine for Zika and the healthcare provider will advise on how to treat any symptoms.”
The department will continue to test those suspected of having Zika. To date, Bermuda has confirmed six cases of travel-related (imported) Zika, but there has been no local transmission.
The ministry will update the public in the event of any additional confirmed cases at www.gov.bm/zika-virus.