|They say the truth will out. Any UK athletes and visitors worried about contracting the deadly Zika virus in Rio, during the Olympics later this year will have been reassured by the blustering Mayor of Puerto Rico, all over UK television and Radio Channels, gleefully proclaiming they have more cases of mosquito spread Dengue Fever than Zika Virus cases in the region where the Olympics village is situated!|
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms appear three to fourteen days after infection, so possibly on return to the UK after a holiday break, typically a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash.
Recovery generally takes two to seven days. In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue haemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Meanwhile the Zika Virus disease is also mainly spread by the mosquito. For most people it is a very mild infection and isn't harmful. However, it may be more serious for pregnant women, as there's evidence it causes birth defects – in particular, abnormally infants with very small heads (microcephaly).
Zika outbreaks have been reported in the Pacific region, and the virus has now spread to South and Central America and the Caribbean. Experts predict that Zika virus will spread to all countries in the Americas (including the Caribbean), with the exception of Chile and Canada.
THE NHS helpfully suggests People travelling to affected areas should seek travel health advice before their trip.
It is recommended that pregnant women postpone non-essential travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission. These are areas where cases of Zika virus disease have been acquired locally, through mosquito bites, and reported by health authorities within the last three months.
Olympics vistors and competitors will have also been reassured by leading medical experts suggesting the Olympics region is known for having the highest outbreaks of the Zika bearing mosquito and contracting pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk, and the male a possible carrier of the Zika virus on return to the UK.
But more bad news the Zika Virus is expected to spread to Europe by this summer, says the World Health Organisation [WHO] , but the risk to people will be "low to moderate".
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the mosquito type has been recently reported in Madeira, the Netherlands and the north-eastern Black Sea coast (southern Russia and Georgia).
There is a "moderate" chance the virus will appear in the 18 European countries where another type of mosquito - the Aedes albopictus - is endemic.
But fear not, one of the worlds largest public relations firms Hill & Knowlton [H+k] deploying a heavyweight international PR and media campaign to 'reassure and correct any misinformation' has been employed. This is how the leading US PR Newsletter O'Dwyers puts it:
Mon., May 16, 2016
|H+K Aids Puerto Rico in Zika Outbreak|
|By Editorial Staff|
|The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is relying on Hill+Knowlton Strategies as it tackles the Zika virus crisis and its effect on tourism.|
H+K's Miami office leads the account.
Puerto Rico's health department said May 13 that a pregnant woman there became the first American whose fetus contracted microcephaly from a Zika infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 20 percent or more of Puerto Rico's 3.5M people will contract the Zika virus this year.
H+K and the PRTC are working to calm fears and correct misinformatioon regarding Zika. That includes educating travellers and potential travellers about using insect repellent wearing proper clothing to avoid the mosquito bites that spread Zika.
"Accurate information about Zika is the key to making educated decisions about visiting Puerto Rico," said Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, executive director of the PRTC.
PRTC said this month fewer than have of one percent of Puerto Ricans have contracted Zika and the majority of cases are away from "typical tourist destinations."
The island suffered a PR blow last month when Major League Baseball cancelled a series of games slated for San Juan because of the Zika outbreak.
The fact the story broke on Friday 13th is pure coincidence - so that's all right then!
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com