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SXM Blog

ST. MAARTEN CONTINUES PREVENTIVE MEASURES AGAINST CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS

3/10/2014 - By St Martin Tourist Board

PRESS RELEASE #288

ST. MAARTEN CONTINUES PREVENTIVE MEASURES AGAINST CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS

St. Maarten/St. Martin Remains Safe for Travelers

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (March 10, 2014) -

St. Maarten welcomes travelers to the island, with over a quarter million cruise passengers visiting in January and air arrivals at 58,623 travelers for the month, as it continues its preventive measures against the mosquito virus that has been reported in the destination. A number of public awareness campaigns for both  residents and visitors have been undertaken, including posting flyers and banners and public service announcements as well as vector control fogging activities.

"Visitors can rest assured that St. Maarten remains a safe destination  for travelers," said Hon. Ted Richardson, Minister of Tourism and  Transportation.

"Officials on both sides of the island are working closely to manage the  situation. While on island, visitors can help protect themselves by  using mosquito repellent on hands, face, feet (parts of the body that are  exposed), and wear long sleeve shirts and pants/skirts, especially 
during dawn and dusk - the peak periods of mosquito activity," he added.

Government officials (on both the French & Dutch sides) have increased  island-wide awareness campaigns, particularly in the heavily dense  areas.Regular site inspections and awareness efforts will continue in the  densely affected areas. 

All partners on island, including hotels, ports of entry, restaurants,  taxis, etc., are aware and involved in the public awareness campaigns, and are also taking preventative measures.
 
This matter has the full attention of the Hon. Minister of Health, the  Hon. Minister of Tourism and the Hon. Minister of Education who are ensuring  that these flyers and posters containing preventative information are  distributed to the general public at large. Most recently, the Hon. Minister of  Public Works came on board to assist and support with the island wide clean-up
campaign.

Upon arrival, passengers are reminded to use the preventive measures to  stop mosquitoes from feeding. Princess Juliana International Airport  officials are sharing the preventative tips on the airport's monitors, while The Wathey Cruise Facility is also distributing mosquito repellents to their  partners at the port, namely at the information desk and to the taxi  drivers, tour buses, stores, restaurants and water taxi operators as  part of the preventive actions.

Chikungunya is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito through  mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya are fever and joint pain.  Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.

"We want to let our valued guests know that we are taking all of the precautionary measures possible to ensure their safety while on island.  We welcome you to our friendly shores," said Richardson.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two  nations, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair.  As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean,"  St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the
tastes of every palate and pocketbook.

Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts.  Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.


As the French side of the island comes under France mainland and European  jurisdiction, there are extremely strict guidelines for warnings and raising public awareness in terms of public health warnings.

Local government have been very pro active in strengthening measures against mosquito proliferation


Many of the Orient Beach hotels have also stepped up regular measures of insect eradication, and as they have always done, they provide  complementary aerosol sprays for guest rooms and advise guests to use insect repellent on their skin.

It should  be noted that the symptoms caused by  infection from this virus are much less severe than those caused by the Dengue fever which has existed for several years in both tropical and European climates.  Some general guide lines are

The best way to avoid eventual infection is to avoid being bitten

 

               Wear long clothing, protect wrists and ankles especially at sunrise and                sunset when mosquitoes are more prevalent

 

               Use of insect repellent on clothing will reinforce the protection

 

               Use skin repellent on bare skin following the manufacturer's guidelines                particularly for pregnant women and children

              

               Insect repellent aerosol sprays, electric diffusers and insect repellent coils                maybe used indoors in large well aired areas

 

               Keep doors and windows closed and use the air conditioning



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