In recent news there has been a lot of talk about the Zika Virus. The Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection which is transmitted by the same type of mosquito linked to Dengue and Chikungunya. Cases of Zika have been identified on four continents, and more than 20 countries in the Americas, including the United States. Although there have been few cases reported in Ecuador, this does not have a direct impact on the Ecuadorian Amazon Region because of its geographic location and our country’s many different climatic floors.
The Andes mountain range is a natural barrier that separates the coastal region from the Amazon rainforest. The altitude of the highland region creates a colder and drier environment making it impossible for the mosquito aegypti to survive.
In addition, following the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 1 February 2016 on the Zika virus, UNWTO recalls that according to WHO there should be no restrictions on travel with the affected areas.
As today, we are conscious about Zika, yet we are being responsible informing all our clients the appropriate measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to mosquito bites and we consider very important to share what you need to know about the Zika virus when you visit Ecuador:
If you are not a woman of childbearing age who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, the Zika virus most likely won’t cause you any serious trouble.
The spread of the virus has been linked to thousands of birth defects (microcephaly) thus prompting countries to advise pregnant women against going to the areas where it has been detected.Symptoms may include mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and general feeling of illness that begins two-seven days after infection. It’s been reported that four out of five people who are infected have no symptoms at all.Zika is not contagious through the air, food, or water, although it is sexually transmited.There have been no deaths so far attributed to the Zika virus. Those infected are advised to take aspirin, drink water, and get lots of rest. Hospitalization as a result of Zika is uncommon.As of now there is no vaccine or cure for Zika.It is unlikely that you will be affected by Zika while travelling in Ecuador and we therefore wanted to reiterate the usual precautions you need to take to avoid mosquito bites:Stay informed about the Zika Virus.Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and shoes.Sleep under a mosquito bed net.Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents and reapply as directed. If also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
Our only recommendation is for pregnant women to consider travel to Ecuador on another occasion in accordance with CDC/WHO advice.
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Credit to: Elife Sciences.org Global map of the predicted distribution of Aedes aegypti, one of the types of mosquitoes that spread Zika.