The Caribbean has a serious mosquito problem and while it may mean that bug spray sales on the islands are way up, it’s an issue that is keeping tourists away.
It’s not just the mosquitos that are the problem, it’s the mosquito-borne virus that has left thousands of travellers to the Caribbean with an unexpected and unwanted souvenir: chikungunya. It’s a virus that causes severe joint pain.
The virus spread from Asia and Africa to the Caribbean in 2013 and since then, it has infected around 1 million people across the islands, through Latin America, South America and Mexico.
The virus can cause fever, rash, headaches and joint pain in the arms and legs. The pain can last months, even years and typically starts 3-7 days after the mosquito bite.
What should you do if you’ve bought tickets to Jamaica or any of the other two dozen countries where chikungunya is a risk? Well, we wouldn’t cancel a trip over some mosquitos but be sure to pack plenty of bug repellant with DEET. Keep your arms and legs covered and keep and eye out for symptoms once you get home.