The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. on Wednesday confirmed it is doing “everything in its power” to protect visitors to the island as it deals with the spread of the Zika virus, which so far has affected “less than one half of one percent” of the population,” agency Executive Director Ingrid I. Rivera-Rocafort said.
With the Zika virus making headlines around the world, Puerto Rico has implemented a comprehensive program to protect its nearly 4 million residents and 5 million annual visitors, she said.
In recent months, the Puerto Rico Department of Health has been working in close collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure a united front against Zika. The U.S. Department of Health announced Wednesday it will be providing the island with $5 million to combat the virus.
“As a tropical island in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico has significant experience dealing with mosquitos and related illnesses, and visitors to our island can feel confident that we are putting this expertise to work and protecting the safety and welfare of everyone who comes here,” Rivera-Rocafort said.
“We have been proactive in three key areas—preparation, prevention and protection—employing strategies to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, provide mosquito bite prevention messages, train health professionals, implement surveillance systems to better understand and manage the virus, and monitor any new research on preventive actions,” she said.
In addition, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company is working with businesses to implement preventive measures to help visitors enjoy their vacation in Puerto Rico. Many resorts, restaurants and other areas frequently visited by tourists are continuously monitoring and spraying to control mosquito populations and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, while visitors are reminded how to protect themselves from the mosquito bite by using mosquito repellent.