A mosquito virus in the Caribbean is fast becoming rampant, but has received little international attention due to the focus on ebola. Chikungunya in the Caribbean is nothing to be ignored, however; it has infected almost a million people in the past year.
The virus is rearing its head yet again, with Health Canada reporting 210 Canadians returning home with the virus. The mosquito virus in the Caribbean is most prevalent in the following countries:
- Dominican Republic – around 500,000 reported cases
- El Salvador – around 123,000 reported cases
- French Polynesia – the virus has just hit this country, but is rapidly spreading
Here’s a complete list of chikungunya-affected countries.
- Joint/muscle pain
Heading to the Caribbean soon? Make sure you have travel insurance in case you get sick. Keep in mind that you need travel insurance even in countries where you think healthcare is cheap.
How to prevent mosquito bites
This mosquito virus in the Caribbean can be prevented by being vigilant about mosquito bites.
1. Make sure you cover up as much as possible
Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Tuck your shirt in to avoid skin exposure.
2. Sleep under a mosquito net
3. Apply insect repellent
Use a repellent that contains DEET; however, take care not to apply it to cuts. Wash your hands after applying. If you need to put on sunblock, apply the sunblock before the repellent.
4. Avoid areas with stagnant water
Mosquitos breed in stagnant water so make sure you avoid these areas. Watch out for mosquitos with black and white stripes; these are the Asian tiger mosquitos that carry the virus.
TuGo’s travel insurance coverage for chikungunya in the Caribbean
If you’re already travelling and submit a medical claim resulting from an unexpected sickness like chikungunya, you should be covered for treatment, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
If you have a Trip Cancellation/Interruption policy, you may qualify for benefits when a formal travel advisory is issued by the Canadian Government. This advisory must be in place between the time you purchased insurance and the time you’re scheduled to depart on your trip. The advisory must still be in place at the time of scheduled departure.
Visit the Government’s website for the latest advisory status.
Last but not least, arm yourself with these travel safety tips; pickpocketing, travel scams and the like are common on various Caribbean islands.