Zika worries regarding travel to Puerto Rico overblown? One UPMC epidemiologist says yes

Only those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should worry about taking a vacation to Puerto Rico, according to epidemiologist D.A. Henderson, MD, distinguished scholar at the UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

"Unless you are pregnant or planning to conceive, there's no reason to avoid traveling to destinations where Zika may be present. If you use common sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, like applying insect repellent and wearing protective clothing, any threat of Zika infection can be easily managed. The over-reaction and hype about Zika is not warranted or helpful," he said.

Dr. Henderson's recommendations are in keeping with the sentiments expressed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

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"We are working diligently to educate and protect our visitors to Puerto Rico so they can have a worry-free experience," said PRTC Executive Director Ingrid I. Rivera Rocafort. "By sharing the opinion of medical experts like Dr. Henderson, we are spreading facts, not fear, about Zika, reassuring visitors they can continue to enjoy our beautiful island, the crown jewel of the Caribbean."

The PRTC is currently collaborating with Dr. Henderson, the CDC and the local Department of Public Health to make sure tourists are informed about the Zika virus. The PRTC is also working with the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds in the vicinity of hotels and resorts.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
CDC awards $60 million to states, territories to battle Zika  
Florida investigates second possible locally acquired Zika case  
First ever female-to-male sexual Zika transmission reported in NYC 

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