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CTO, CHTA join fight against Zika virus


CTO, CHTA join fight against Zika virus

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WARY OF THE potentially devastating impact the Zika virus could have on the Caribbean’s rebounding tourism industry, regional officials have issued a call-to-action to the sector.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are urging all Caribbean countries and the national hotel and tourism associations and hotels in the region to diligently work to control the mosquito population in light of the recent reports of the mosquito-borne illness.

In addition, CTO and CHTA said they were “working diligently with public health authorities in the Caribbean to mitigate the effects of the Zika virus. Zika, also known as ZIKV, is spread by the Aedes genus of mosquito, in particular the Aedes aegypti.

CTO and CHTA said they were in close contact with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to monitor and research the Zika cases that have now surfaced in some Caribbean destinations, and to communicate prevention and control measures to residents and visitors.

“We are in communication with our respective stakeholders and are observing national, regional and international health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases which can be found in tropical countries as well as the warmer regions of the US,” said CTO secretary general Hugh Riley.

With more than 700 islands in 20 territories in the Caribbean, conditions will vary from one nation to another.

“CTO and CHTA will continue to monitor all developments related to mosquito-borne viral diseases and to support appropriate communication, education and prevention initiatives,” Riley added.

“An aggressive vector control programme by hotels and governments is essential as is public awareness and training directed towards employees, businesses and governments,” said CHTA chief executive officer and director general Frank Comito.

Working with CARPHA, CHTA and CTO will introduce initiatives “to support on-the-ground efforts”.

“Public-private sector collaboration is essential in successfully addressing this. CHTA, CTO and CARPHA are working together, and we urge all national hotel and tourism associations along with industry stakeholders to collaborate at the local level with governments and the community, particularly on vector control and public education.”

The US Centres for Disease Control has issued a level two alert (practice enhanced precautions) for travellers to the Caribbean and specifies those countreis which have confirmed cases to date. (PR/SC)