Tuesday, December 24, 2013

CDC Travel Watch for St Martin

CDC Fact Sheet (click for info)
 Chikungunya in Saint Martin (Caribbean)

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed 10 cases of the virus in St. Martin.

The virus is spread by bites from infected Aedes mosquitoes.  There is no vaccine to protect against the virus, so travelers should take protective action to avoid getting mosquito bites.

According to the WHO publication, here is how travelers can protect themselves.

Prevent mosquito bites:
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent as directed.
  • Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Use products with the following active ingredients:
    • DEETExternal Web Site Icon (Products containing DEET include Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon)
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the US])
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals)
    • IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart)
  • Always follow product directions and reapply as directed.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Protection is needed all day long since these mosquitoes can bite during the day and night, inside or outside, and can usually be found around buildings in urban areas.   St. Martin isn't the only area that is at risk currently.   Infected mosquitoes can also be found in Africa, Asia, and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. 

CDC Travelers' Health

Before you travel, check the CDC site for more about this story and other information.  (click image on left)

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