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Ministry of Tourism to Meet with Stakeholders on Zika

Four new cases confirmed on New Providence

/EIN News/ -- NASSAU, Bahamas, Sept. 1, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism together with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environmental Health Services will hold a special Zika sensitivity meeting with industry stakeholders on Monday, September 5th at 10am at the British Colonial Hilton.

Invitations will be sent to industry partners. The objectives of the meeting are to further educate tourism stakeholders on the Zika virus and to encourage stakeholders to take preventive measures to mitigate the spread of Zika.   

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said the ministry continues to be proactive in the fight against the virus.

"The primary focus of our meeting on Monday is to discuss precautions that we can take to combat the Zika virus and ensure that our visitors have a safe and healthy experience in our islands," Wilchcombe said.

"The Bahamas remains a safe destination and we will continue to be. We have a lot of confidence in the work the Ministry of Health is doing to manage Zika and mitigate further cases."

On Wednesday, Health Ministry Dr. Perry Gomez said that there are now eight confirmed cases of Zika on the island of New Providence.

Health officials continue to fog on New Providence and the family of islands.

The Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. However, the virus is also spread from mother to baby during pregnancy and during sexual intercourse.

Health Officials advise anyone travelling to The Bahamas who feel they may have symptoms of the virus to contact the National Disease Surveillance Unit at 502-4776, 502-4790, 376-3809 or 376-4705.

Visitors to The Bahamas receive educational pamphlets about the virus at all ports of entry. The pamphlet includes symptoms, prevention tips and contact information for the Ministry of Health.

Hotels and guest properties throughout The Islands of The Bahamas are also continuing their proactive measures.
Proactive measures include:
•    Providing staff and guests with information on Zika so that they are aware of the signs and symptoms, how Zika is transmitted and how it can be prevented.

•    Having insect repellant available to visitors.

•    Avoiding storing water in outdoor containers to prevent them from becoming mosquito-breeding sites.

•    Covering water tanks or reservoirs so that mosquitoes do not get in.

•    Avoiding the build-up of garbage, which can act as a breeding site for mosquitoes. Putting garbage in closed plastic bags and keep it in closed containers.

•    Uncovering and unblocking gutters and drains to release stagnant water.

All travelers are advised to:
•    Stay informed about the Zika situation in countries they are travelling to.

•    Use insect repellents on exposed skin. Insect repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535 are the most effective and safe when used according to the label. If also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

•    Where possible, wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and shoes to minimize exposed skin.

•    When indoors use air conditioning and keep the doors and windows closed, unless they are screened, to keep out mosquitoes. If this is not possible, sleep under mosquito nets to prevent bites.

What should you do if you feel sick and think you may have Zika?
•    Consult a healthcare professional if you are feeling ill, especially if you have a fever. If you have returned home, make sure to tell them about your travel.

•    Use acetaminophen or paracetamol to treat fever and pain.

Get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids.
•    A person infected with Zika will have the virus in their blood for the first week of infection. The virus can be passed on to other mosquitoes if they bite you while you are carrying the virus. Therefore, be especially careful to prevent mosquito bites during the first week to avoid spreading the disease.

Travelers are encouraged to visit for any updates on Zika. 

CONTACT: Mia Weech-Lange

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