Puerto Rico is prepared to host tourists for worry free vacation. Photo: Puerto Rico Tourism Company
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- With the zika virus making headlines around the world, Puerto Rico has implemented a comprehensive program to protect its nearly four million residents and five million annual visitors. The Puerto Rico Department of Health is working in close collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure a united front against zika.
"To put this situation into perspective, to date, less than one half of one percent of our population has been affected by the zika virus. We are doing everything in our power to protect visitors to our island and ensure they can have a worry-free vacation," said Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, executive director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
"As a tropical island in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has significant experience dealing with mosquitoes and related illnesses, and visitors to our Island can feel confident that we are putting this expertise to work and protecting the safety and welfare of everyone who comes here. We have been proactive in three key areas -- preparation, prevention and protection -- employing strategies to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, provide mosquito bite prevention messages, train health professionals, implement surveillance systems to better understand and manage the virus, and monitor any new research on preventive actions,” she noted.
In addition, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company is working with businesses to implement preventive measures to help visitors enjoy their vacation in Puerto Rico. Many resorts, restaurants and other areas frequently visited by tourists are continuously monitoring and spraying to control mosquito populations and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, while visitors are reminded how to protect themselves from the mosquito bite by using mosquito repellent.
The zika virus, first reported in Uganda in 1947, has been found in multiple countries including popular destinations in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and Latin America. The CDC encourages travelers to be aware of the zika virus and take enhanced precautions.