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Zika Virus in Punta Cana: Should I Be Worried?

Mosquito sucking blood on human skin with nature background


Zika virus disease is typically transmitted by an Aedes species(Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus) mosquito bite. It can also be transmitted by unprotected sexual contact with someone who’s infected.

What are the Zika virus infection Symptoms?

Though many of the individuals infected with Zika virus won’t present symptoms, in 18% of cases Zika disease or Zika fever usually causes mild illness characterized by:

Fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, skin rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and has been associated with severe birth defects as microcephaly in infants born to women infected while pregnant.

Zika virus treatment

There’s no vaccine nor specific treatment for Zika.

Here’s how you should treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Treat fever and pain. It’s not recommended to take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • If you are on medication for another medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking additional medication.

Zika in the Dominican Republic

Zika transmission in the Caribbean map
Zika transmission in the Caribbean (https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/zika-transmission-caribbean)

The Caribbean is among the areas where Zika is actually present. Though not many cases have been reported Zika is present in the country since January 2016.

At the time, the Dominican Republic is considered to have a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission.

Mosquito season: are mosquitoes a problem in DR?

There’s not really a mosquito season in the Dominican Republic, being situated in the tropics and having mild to high temperatures all year long, the Ae. Aegipti mosquito – that’s endemic in the territory- is always active, especially in the rainy season.

Although the area is highly exposed, all Punta Cana resorts take it very seriously and adopt preventive measures as fumigation against mosquitos, doing it every evening in green areas and near the buildings.

Worst time of day for mosquitoes

Woman spraying insect repellent on skin

Travellers should avoid mosquito bites -especially between dawn and dusk- by applying mosquito repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves.

Here’s what Dom B had to say about his experience with mosquitoes in Punta Cana on the Tripadvisor forum:

got back from Punta Cana last week after 2 amazing weeks.

I had 1 bite on my hand..cleared up within about 5 minutes after putting some cooling gel on it. 1 child had no bites, my other child had 3 small bites on his ankle. again…applied cooling gel and he was fine.

my wife had a couple bites.. again…cleared up after 5 minutes. Had a party of 16 of us and in total about 20-25 bites between us all. – the place is sprayed constantly (Grand Palladium)… please do not panic or worry!!!! scaremongering! – nobody was ill or anything.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147293-i28-k11095203-Mosquitos-Punta_Cana_La_Altagracia_Province_Dominican_Republic.html

Is it safe to travel to Punta Cana while pregnant?

Closeup picture of belly of pregnant woman

  • It is recommended that pregnant women consider postponing non-essential travels until after pregnancy.
  • Women should avoid becoming pregnant while traveling, and for 8 weeks after last possible exposure.
  • Couples should avoid conception while traveling.
  • If a woman develops symptoms compatible with Zika infection, it is recommended she avoids a pregnancy 8 weeks following the symptom onset.
  • Women who visited a risk area while pregnant, or who become pregnant within 8 weeks after leaving or after possible exposure, should contact their doctor for further advice, even if they have no symptoms.
  • CDC authorities recommend that pregnant women should postpone non-essential travels until after the pregnancy. (CDC website)

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