Due to the recently reported cases of the Zika virus in Florida, the Tropical Medical Bureau (TMB) advise anyone planning to travel to Florida to take precautions against this mosquito-borne disease.
For every five people who have the disease, only one person will have symptoms. Symptoms include fever, rash, itchy skin, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. The symptoms are generally mild, and people usually don’t get sick enough that they need to go to the hospital.
Even though the individual risk must be remarkably small, in line with the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, the TMB recommends women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant within the following few months, to postpone any unnecessary travel to areas affected by the Zika virus to avoid exposure.
[EILE Magazine feels we should point out that the Florida Dept of Health has particularly identified one area, and warns against visiting that area, stating:
“The Florida Department of Health has gathered enough information as part of its ongoing investigation into non-travel related cases of Zika in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to conclude that a high likelihood exists that four cases are the result of local transmission. At this time, the department believes that active transmission of the Zika virus are occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown. The exact location is within the boundaries of the following area: NW 5th Avenue to the west, US 1 to the east, NW/NE 38th Street to the north and NW/NE 20th Street to the south. This area is about 1 square mile and a map is below to detail the area. While no mosquitoes trapped tested positive for the Zika virus, the department believes these cases were likely transmitted through infected mosquitoes in this area.
The department is actively conducting door-to-door outreach and urine sample collection in the impacted area and will share more details as they become available. The results from these efforts will help department determine the number of people affected. These local cases were identified by clinicians who brought them to the attention of the department. In addition, blood banks in the area are currently excluding donations from impacted areas until screening protocols are in place”. -Ed]
If it is necessary to travel to Florida make sure you are protected with a good insect repellent. TMB insect repellents can be picked up in TMB clinics, Lloyds Pharmacies, Dunnes Stores and Tesco nationwide, as well as in Pure Pharmacy in Dublin Airport. If you have any concerns please contact your nearest TMB clinic.
Women who have not developed any symptoms of infection with Zika virus should avoid becoming pregnant for eight weeks after being in a Zika-infected area. Those who did have confirmed or suspected infection should avoid pregnancy for six months. However, there is a blood test to screen those who have returned if this is clinically recommended.
If you have been abroad and do become unwell, Tropical Medical Bureau offers a 24/7 emergency hotline for existing patients.
To book an appointment, please contact the Tropical Medical Bureau on 1850 487674 or visit www.tmb.ie.