Destinations

Latest warning for travellers as Zika spreads

As the Zika virus continues to explode in the Americas and beyond, health experts have stressed that travellers must ensure they are protected from mosquitoes which can carry a range of human diseases.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, spokesperson for the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) Professor William Rawlinson said the virus has been known for 68 years but is now becoming a more serious issue as it spreads to new populations where infections haven’t been seen before. This is resulting in a high number of transmissions as is currently being seen in Brazil.

Symptoms of the mild, but “not pleasant” illness, include shivers and joint pains that appear within about a week of infection.

“Everybody needs to be aware of it, but it’s with pregnant women where we might be seeing more serious consequences,” Rawlinson explained. He highlighted the still unproven associations between the acute form of the zika virus and malformations in babies such as smaller heads.

“That’s what’s worrying people the most.”

Those infected with the disease may be laid up for a “few days”, but the greater concern is that they will then transmit the disease to others, or spread it to new areas, Rawlinson said. The disease is known to be transmitted by mosquitoes, although a recent case suggests it may also be sexually transmittable.

“However, that doesn’t appear to be a common means of transmission,” he hastened to add.

Two cases of the virus have been reported in Australia to date. with both cases residents of New South Wales who had recently travelled to the Caribbean.

While an outbreak in Australia is possible, it seems unlikely, according to Rawlinson.

“That’s because most of Australia doesn’t have the mosquito that transmits the Zika virus,” he said. They are found in areas of Far North Queensland, but Rawlinson said that they are more commonly found in Asia.

They also carry other mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, which is considered a much higher risk for Australian travellers because of the serious implications of reinfection. As a result, Rawlinson warned that the best course of action remains the same – to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.

Furthermore, travellers should check the latest Australian Government and Centres for Disease Control advice regarding any areas that they are planning to visit.

GENERAL PROTECTIVE MEASURES (CDC)

Avoid outbreaks. To the extent possible, travelers should avoid known foci of epidemic disease transmission. The CDC Travelers’ Health website provides updates on regional disease transmission patterns and outbreaks (www.cdc.gov/travel).

Be aware of peak exposure times and places. Exposure to arthropod bites may be reduced if travelers modify their patterns or locations of activity. Although mosquitoes may bite at any time of day, peak biting activity for vectors of some diseases (such as dengue and chikungunya) is during daylight hours. Vectors of other diseases (such as malaria) are most active in twilight periods (dawn and dusk) or in the evening after dark. Avoiding the outdoors or taking preventive actions (such as using repellent) during peak biting hours may reduce risk. Place also matters; ticks and chiggers are often found in grasses, woodlands, or other vegetated areas. Local health officials or guides may be able to point out areas with increased arthropod activity.

Wear appropriate clothing. Travelers can minimize areas of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots, and hats. Tucking in shirts, tucking pants into socks, and wearing closed shoes instead of sandals may reduce risk. Repellents or insecticides, such as permethrin, can be applied to clothing and gear for added protection. (Additional information on clothing is below.)

Check for ticks. Travelers should inspect themselves and their clothing for ticks during outdoor activity and at the end of the day. Prompt removal of attached ticks can prevent some infections. Showering within 2 hours of being in a tick-infested area reduces the risk of some tickborne diseases.

Bed nets. When accommodations are not adequately screened or air conditioned, bed nets are essential in providing protection and reducing discomfort caused by biting insects. If bed nets do not reach the floor, they should be tucked under mattresses. Bed nets are most effective when they are treated with a pyrethroid insecticide. Pretreated, long-lasting bed nets can be purchased before traveling, or nets can be treated after purchase. Effective, treated nets may also be available in destination countries. Nets treated with a pyrethroid insecticide will be effective for several months if they are not washed. Long-lasting pretreated nets may be effective for much longer.

Insecticides and spatial repellents. More spatial repellent products are becoming commercially available. These products, containing active ingredients such as metofluthrin and allethrin, augment aerosol insecticide sprays, vaporizing mats, and mosquito coils that have been available for some time. Such products can help to clear rooms or areas of mosquitoes (spray aerosols) or repel mosquitoes from a circumscribed area (coils, spatial repellents). Although many of these products appear to have repellent or insecticidal activity under particular conditions, they have not yet been adequately evaluated in peer-reviewed studies for their efficacy in preventing vectorborne disease. Travelers should supplement the use of these products with repellent on skin or clothing and using bed nets in areas where vectorborne diseases are a risk or biting arthropods are noted. Since some products available internationally may contain pesticides that are not registered in the United States, it may be preferable for travelers to bring their own. Insecticides and repellent products should always be used with caution, avoiding direct inhalation of spray or smoke.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Tourism

Flavour of the Week

These new industry appointments are bound to shake up your Friday. Because they’re moving and shaking, get it? Sorry, but it is the end of the week.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

The agent wraps are our favourite thing to do on a Friday. Well, that and research places to go for lunch. And bars to go to for happy hour. But agent wraps come a close third.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Introducing Australia’s most Instagrammable restaurants

Cancel all your weekend plans because you’re going to want to want to eat your way through this delicious list.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Big Fat Aloha Friday Wrap

This Aloha Friday wrap is of mammoth proportions! Ok, it’s quite reasonably sized, but it is filled with fire-breathing dragons. Ok, that isn’t true either.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

PICTURES: Sneak peek at Queensland’s first Westin hotel

Here are some pictures of a very pretty hotel to gaze at while you pretend you’re working. We’ve already wasted half our morning on them.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

“You need to be genuinely interested”: Top selling agent reveals her tips for increasing sales

Sue Wright made $300,000 in her first three months as a PTM! We caught up with her to find out her secrets to success.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

PASSENGERS REACT: Qantas scraps in-flight music on domestic

If you’re one to engage in mid-flight silent discos, you may want to bring your own beats from now on.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Back to the shop”: Cathay Pacific misspells its own name on livery

The airline has been forced to take one of its planes back to the painters after becoming aware of an embarrassing typo. Look, we’ve all been there.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Emirates rumored to be considering Etihad take over

Emirates have denied rumours they are considering taking over Etihad, which would form the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

How sustainability, global trends and culture relate to tourism’s future being featured at Hawaii’s Global Tourism Summit

Three areas of focus for tourism’s future – sustainability, global trends and culture – will be addressed by a variety of speakers, panelists and attendees from around the world and within the Hawaiian Islands at Hawaii’s Global Tourism Summit.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Hawaii on sale

by Ashlee Galea

Shopping in Hawaii is nothing short of sensational – Hawaii provides American retail therapy with a Pacific island twist.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Keynote speakers at Hawaii’s Global Tourism Summit to address the power – and challenges – of Travel’s Future

The theme of this year’s Global Tourism Summit – Charting the Course – points to the ever-present need for destinations and travel suppliers to continuously balance the power of tourism’s popularity worldwide with its impact on residents and communities.

Share

CommentComments