World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control and Prevention Have Removed The Bahamas from Watch Lists of Zika Infected Areas, Deeming the Country Safe for Travelers
NASSAU, Bahamas – Two of the world’s leading health organizations have recently declared that The Islands Of The Bahamas do not pose a known risk to travelers of contracting the Zika virus. No new cases of Zika have been identified in the country within the past 12 months.
On February 2, 2018 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed The Bahamas from its list of “Areas with Risk of Zika,” which, according to their website, identifies places where pregnant women should avoid travel, and where travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission during and after the trip.
The CDC now includes The Bahamas under “Areas with Interrupted Transmission,” meaning Zika was previously found in the locations on this list but scientists have determined the virus is no longer present. The CDC states that travelers, including pregnant women, can visit these destinations with no known risk of getting Zika from mosquitoes.
Also on February 2, the World Health Organization (WHO) downgraded The Bahamas from a Category 2 to a Category 3 on its Zika Virus (ZIKV) Classification Table, signifying that there have been no new cases of Zika identified in the area or from travelers in the past 12 months. This classification table evaluates the geographical distribution of Zika virus across four categories, Category 1 being the most threatening and Category 4 representing areas with no documented past or current transmissions.
THE BAHAMAS AND ZIKA
The Bahamas Ministry of Health confirmed that the last reported cases of Zika were in November, 2016. At that time, all cases sought medical attention after having symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection. All clients were treated for associated symptoms and did well. Based on the histories received from the cases, it was determined that there was a mix of travel-associated and local transmission.
Various government sectors in The Bahamas – the Ministry of Health, Department of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health – continue to work in partnership to operate an active surveillance program and intense vector control and mosquito management to prevent the threat of Zika transmission.
WHAT TRAVELERS SHOULD KNOW
Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected mosquito and by sexual transmission of an infected person. For tips on how to protect against Zika, visit the CDC’s Zika Guide for Travelers. Also visit the CDC’s Zika travel map and refer to the WHO’s ZIKA Classification Table for the most up-to-date information on Zika around the world.