What you need to know to be informed and prepared as Zika makes its way around the world
By now, you may be well aware that the Zika Virus has found its way to more than 50 countries across the globe, including the Fiji Islands. In fact, there is increased concern about the threat of Zika within the United States and Continental Europe during the coming summer months due to the presence of the Aedes species mosquito.
As background, in April 2016, The CDC placed Fiji in the Level 2 Category: Practice Enhanced Precautions. The good news is that as of the date of this article (revised July 2016), there have been only 25 confirmed cases* of the virus in Fiji, with a seemingly low transmission rate, according to Fiji’s National Advisor for Communicable Diseases. Further, the Fijian Ministry of Health has developed an aggressive campaign called “Fight The Bite”, encouraging all local residents to destroy the breeding places of mosquitoes. As a result, residents, municipalities and resorts are banding together to keep this virus from spreading. Generally speaking, our resort partners have been practicing mosquito abatement with frequent spraying for years and continue to be vigilant in this regard.
Importantly, the CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women. Women who are pregnant should not travel to any area where the Zika virus is spreading. For the most current worldwide health information, please consult with your personal physician or visit the official website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or call the CDC at 1.800.232.4636 for full details prior to travel. You’ll find information on recent outbreaks, required vaccinations, safe food and water tips, insect protection, illness and injury abroad, and more.
How to protect yourself*
- Apply over the counter EPA registered insect repellent regularly (20% Picaradin or 25% DEET is most effective)
- Combine sunscreen with insect repellent while in the sun (be careful not to over apply DEET)
- Consider pre-treated clothing or treating your own clothes with permethrin (“Insect Shield”)
- Wear essential oils such as citronella, rose geranium, and lemon
- Pack light colored clothing and gear
Venture Fiji strongly recommends that all clients purchase travel insurance. Travel Insurance is extremely important for travelers when traveling outside of North America because it can provide coverage for unexpected natural disasters as well as health insurance and medical evacuation. However, if you would like the flexibility to change your travel plans due to the Zika Virus, ask your Travel Advisor about a “Cancel for Any Reason Rider.”
Where to find more information
For more information on the Zika Virus, we recommend that you visit the Centers for Disease Control website as a primary source for information. The World Health Organization website also contains researched information on the virus. Further, the Fiji Times website also reports on the virus and provides updates on the current steps the Fijian government is taking to defeat Zika.
Do you have a question about traveling to Fiji?
Feel free to contact us. One of our Fiji Destination Specialists will be happy to help!
*Sources: The Fiji Times, CDC, Conde Nast Traveler.