QCOSTARICA – The Government of Costa Rica said Monday tourists can visit the country without fear of being infected with the Zika virus. While the Zika has sparked fears amid its rapid spread through the Americas, it has not “demonstrated an active circulation” in Costa Rica, say authorities.
The Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) and the Costa Rican Tourism board – Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – said in a press release that the Zika virus “should not be a deterrent for tourists to visit the various attractions” of the country.
“The peak tourist season in the beginning of year coincides with the dry season, so the presence of the mosquito decreases. This is precisely the best time to prepare for the rains and eliminate all types of (mosquito) breeding sites,” said Acting Director of Health Surveillance, Daniel Salas.
Costa Rica authorities also stressed that so far there is no scientific evidence of any ‘active circulation’ of virus in the country.
The ICT is asking associations, entrepreneurs and coastal municipalities for extreme preventive measures against the mosquito transmitter especially in eliminating breeding sites.
Costa Rica has not yet registered any homegrown cases of the virus. The two cases present in the country, transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the same dengue and chikungunya diseases, were imported.
To that end, surveillance has been stepped up at airport and land border crossings, in order to prevent the entry of the Zika. Among the measures taken include training of staff at points of entry, to detect the virus.