In the past year, the Zika virus has been a big worry for travelers – particularly those adventuring to the Americas. Here at Olympus Tours, we think Cancun (and all of Mexico) is an incredible holiday destination for anyone looking for a vibrant and varied vacation. The country has, however, been affected by the spread of the Zika virus in the last year. If you’re traveling there soon, you may be concerned, so to help ease your worries and help you stay informed, we’ve made a list of the most commonly asked questions and given you the answers. This post is full of things to consider before you set off on your exciting travels to Mexico.
What causes Zika?
Zika is spread by mosquitos. The type that transmit the virus bite day and night. When the mozzie sink in their teeth, they pass on the virus caught from other infected humans – creating a dangerous cycle and spreading Zika further.
Whilst transmission by mosquito is the most common, it’s also important to recognize that the virus can also be transmitted sexually by men.
Who is most at risk if getting infected with Zika?
Pregnant women who live in places affected by Zika are most at danger, but pregnant travelers who’ve passed through infected areas are also at risk of contracting the virus. Pregnant women need to be wary of getting Zika as it can cause life-limiting birth defects.
Are all areas of Mexico affected by Zika virus?
Mexico is a vast country, and whilst the virus has been reported there, some areas are less affected than others. Due to the virus being spread by mosquitos, mountainous areas – those that are higher than 6,500 feet – have reported far less cases (though, obviously this doesn’t stop sexual transmissions of the virus – so Honeymooners beware!).
Also, if you’re vacationing at one of Mexico’s many fabulous resorts, your chances of being affected by Zika are incredibly small. Resort destinations do their upmost to ensure that travelers are safe and protected from any potential dangers, and there have been no reports of the virus in the most popular tourist destinations.
How should I protect myself?
You may not want to do this in the humid temperatures of Mexico, but covering up is the number one way to protect yourself from dangerous mozzie bites. Wearing long sleeves and pants no matter the temperature may seem like torture – but it’s far better than the alternative. You can also buy bug spray and use it regularly throughout your stay to keep the pests at bay.
Check that your accommodation has screens at the windows, and if you’re spending the day sheltering from the sun indoors turn on the air conditioning if you can. The type of mosquitos that transmit Zika virus commonly lay their eggs in standing water – things like buckets, flower pots, and animal dishes – so make sure you get rid of the standing water in and around your accommodation.
As the virus can be transmitted sexually, if you and your partner plan on getting intimate while you’re on your travels, it’s important (even more so than usual!) to take precautions. If you’re aiming to start a family, it’s advised you delay those plans until you’re home and 100% certain that neither partner has the virus.
What are the symptoms of Zika infection?
Zika virus can have some serious symptoms. They can often start with a simple headache. Within a few days, infected individuals can experience a rash, bloodshot eyes, and a fever. Some of the infected patients have also complained of joint pains in the wrists, knees, and ankles, accompanied by muscle pain and excruciating pain behind the eyes. The so-called ‘Zika rash’ is the most common symptom – with 90% of suffers showing it, so if you see any signs of this you should definitely visit the nearest health center.
While these symptoms may seem scary, an even scarier point is that many cases of Zika display no symptoms at all.
What should I do if I think I have Zika?
Because many cases of the Zika virus display no obvious symptoms, pregnant women who visit affected areas are strongly advised to get tested in both their first and second trimesters of pregnancy.
And, if you do have any of the symptoms outlined above and think you may have contracted the virus, it’s important you seek medical advice and help as soon as possible.
Is there a cure to Zika?
There is currently no vaccine or cure for Zika. This is because, for a long time, the virus was considered too benign to spend valuable time and money on – and the outbreak is still relatively recent. So, the preventions outlined earlier on are incredibly important to avoid contracting the virus, ensuring your safety and that the virus doesn’t spread to other parts of the world.
Despite the outbreak of Zika, visiting Mexico makes for an amazing experience.