Cruise Ship Zika Virus Healthy Advisory

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During our recent Mexico cruise aboard the Ruby Princess, the crew passed out an informational letter to everyone regarding the Zika virus. It stated:


Dear Guest,

We would like to advise you that on January 15, 2016 the US centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded their Zika virus travel health notices to Ale- Level 2 (Practice Enhanced Precautions). Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries. For timely information on travel advice to countries impacted by Zika. please regularly review the CDC website http://www.nc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Zika virus is spread mainly through infected mosquitoes which bite during daytime hours. Other modes of spread, including sexual transmission, have been reported. Zika virus disease manifests 3-12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, only 20% of people infected with Zika virus show symptoms which most commonly include fever, headache, skin rash joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from 2�7 days. Comprehensive health information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

Although serious complications and deaths are uncommon, recent increases in birth defects are being reported in areas where Zika virus outbreaks have occurred. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is still evolving. For this reason, the CDC travel health advisory particularly impacts women who are pregnant (in any trimester), and women who are trying to become pregnant. For more information and travel advice regarding Zika virus infection and pregnancy, we encourage you to review the CDC's frequently asked questions webpage. (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/question-answers.html)

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. However, you can reduce your risk of contracting Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses such as Dengue and Chikungunya by following these steps prior to going ashore:

  • Apply insect repellent which contains one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin (KBR 3023), Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus/PMD, or IR3535. Repellent is available for purchase from the shops on board.
  • Wear a loose, long-sleeved shirt and long pants to minimize the likelihood of being bitten

If you experience any symptoms of fever, headache, skin rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes), please contact the ship's Medical Center or your doctor if you have already returned home Remember to tell them about your recent travel. Thank you for taking the time to read this important information.

Yours in health,

Grant Tarling, MD, MPH Chief Medical Officer


We went ashore in all the ports of our cruise, including Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto and Puerto Vallarta but never got a single mosquito bite. We were being cautions and applied generous amounts of mosquito spray, especially in Puerto Vallarta, where we also wore long pants. We visited the beach at every port- no bite, no problem. Just be cautious and you should be fine.


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