Zika virus

Zika virus advice released for seafarers

Seafarers are being given information and advice on the Zika virus in a bid to help them avoid contracting the disease.

The factsheet can be downloaded here. You can catch the virus by being bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito and it can be spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact. It is currently circulating in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

The Zika virus disease usually causes a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis for a period of two to seven days but it is particularly dangerous for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and has been linked to genetic birth defects. There is no specific treatment or vaccine available.

Maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith said: “Our business is helping to protect your health and safety as seafarers. We know you are a particularly vulnerable group to this type of disease because you’re in transit a lot of the time and there are a number of major trade routes passing through areas impacted by the Zika virus.

“We understand the reality for you as seafarers is that if you’re going to be able to take any precautions against contracting the virus – things like sleeping under mosquito nets, using repellent, wearing light covering clothing, covering water containers – you need to prepare in advance, before you are at sea for a number or weeks or even months.”

Get in touch if you’re a seafarer affected by the Zika virus: altaf_asif@itf.org.uk