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June 29th 2018
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Workshop: Cyber Security information sharing, accountability & regulation

June 28th 2018
 
 
 

Zika Virus - Information for Seafarers

By Jo Chuter 
February 11th 2016
By Jo Chuter
With dramatic headlines about the Zika virus popping up all over the media lately we ask, what is the effect for seafarers and what should you do?

 

Headlines have tended to focus around the affects the virus can have on unborn children and the link to microcephaly and birth defects, so you would be forgiven for thinking that if you’re not a pregnant woman the warnings don’t apply to you. However, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern those transiting affected areas need to know how they can prevent the spread.

 

What is it?

 

The Zika Virus presents as a relatively mild virus in most, with only one-in-five people infected thought to develop symptoms and rare cases requiring hospitalization. Symptoms, when present, tend to include:

 
  • mild fever
  • conjunctivitis (red, sore eyes)
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • a rash

 

The real risk is to unborn children, with the virus being linked to under-development of the brain.

 

Why does this affect me?

 

The virus is most commonly spread through mosquito bites, but it has also been established that it can be sexually transmitted. Seafarers that transit affected areas may be liable to becoming infected and passing that infection on to others for whom the effects could be devastating. This could affect seafarers with a pregnant partner, but even those not directly linked to the outcome of the disease should try to prevent its spread.

 

What can I do?

 

Travel advice is centered around avoiding being bitten by mosquitos, so using repellent, covering skin and keeping windows and doors closed or covered with screens where possible. Due to the possibility of the virus being transmitted sexually it is also advised that men returning home from affected countries use condoms if their partner is pregnant or might become pregnant.

 

For more advice please visit the links below.


http://who.int/en/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35370848

http://www.khou.com/story/news/health/2016/02/04/zika-virus-causes-concern-cruise-travel/79849098/

http://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/articles.cfm?ID=2139

http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Documents/Circular%20Letter%20No.3623%20-%20Zika%20Virus%20Disease%20(Secretariat).pdf



Image source: CDC