The recent spread of Zika throughout the Americas will of course be cause of concern to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region: Costa Rica. The question is: “does Zika virus pose a concern to travelers here?” The short answer is yes, but we will explain more about what that means for your possible or upcoming trip.
How has Zika affected Costa Rica?
The facts are these: Costa Rica is a country with very good mosquito control overall. Several cases of Zika have surfaced so far in Costa Rica, particularly the area of Jaco.
The major concentration of cases have occurred in the Pacific provinces of Puntarenas and Guanacaste. There have been instances in Alajuelita just South of San Jose too. Authorities are leading health and clean up efforts especially in these areas to halt the spread of the disease.
What does the disease mean for me?
Zika has been known for more than 60 years but has recently had a resurgence in the Americas. It is spread by the common mosquito active especially during the day and twilight hours.
-A bite from an infected mosquito
-Having sex with a male who is infected are ways in which it spreads.
The symptoms of the disease are mild pain expressed in fever, joints, rash or red eyes. Of course exposure will bring with it more stigma and fear than anything since the disease is an issue of international concern at this time.
-There seems to be a link between Zika and contracting a seriously crippling palsy.
-There is a perceived risk for microcephaly for babies of women who are pregnant.
How to protect myself on my trip?
The most basic precautions are the best. Wear long sleeved clothes and shoes. Sleep under a mosquito net, apply registered and tested insect repellents with frequency especially when spending time outdoors.
One should not give in to panic and fear when looking to travel. The disease can arrive just about anywhere and Costa Rica is very much handling the situation, for tourists the only requirement is just a question of being very prudent, knowing the risks and doing everything you can to protect yourself and enjoy the destination.