Vieux Fort, St Lucia (FILE)
CASTRIES – Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is celebrating the news that the Zika virus has been interrupted on Saint Lucia. That means scientists have determined the virus is no longer present and travellers, including pregnant women, can visit the destination with no known risk of getting Zika from mosquitoes.
The announcement came from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which said the last reported case of the Zika virus disease on Saint Lucia was in February 2017 – 18 months ago.
In a statement issued on Thursday, August 23, 2018, the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Saint Lucia noted that, while mosquito-borne diseases are a concern, “in the case of Zika virus disease, the country’s last case was diagnosed greater than one year ago, in spite of continuous surveillance and testing for this disease.”
The statement continued by saying “Given that Zika virus disease has not been detected in over a year in many Caribbean countries, the Caribbean Public Health Agency has indicated that Zika virus transmission has been interrupted in the Caribbean and that risk of transmission is very low.”
Acting CEO of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Tiffany Howard said this development will have a very positive impact on Saint Lucia’s tourism product. “Visitors, who were concerned about travelling to Saint Lucia because of Zika, now have the assurance that Saint Lucia has managed the situation effectively. Therefore, there is no need for worry about visiting the island. And what better time to come than now, when we have so many exciting things to do, see and experience on our inspiring destination.”
Some visitors from the island’s major source markets had put off trips to the destination due to concerns about the Zika virus, especially couples who were thinking about getting pregnant. However, with the announcement by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, travellers can now rethink their decision to stay away and experience Saint Lucia – renowned as one of the world’s most romantic and attractive destinations.
The Department of Health and Wellness has implemented a number of strategies to reduce the impact of Vector Borne Diseases (VBDs) and properties on the island continue to be pro-active in reducing the presence of mosquitos so their guests can enjoy a wonderful stay. (PR)