What is the real status of the Zika Virus in Honduras?
It seems that the new world pandemic is the Zika Virus, which has spread at an alarming rate throughout Latin America and is headed north. The virus is spread by a mosquito that can also carry Malaria, Dengue fever and Chicunguya. The government of Honduras has taken extreme actions and even declared a sanitary alert to create access to extra funds to fight the decease.
But what does the sanitary alert against the Zika Virus in Honduras really mean and should you as a traveler be concerned about it?
It means that the Government has taken all the measures to control the spread of the virus. Zika is not a contagious decease; it is brought on by an infected mosquito, in the same way that many other tropical deceases are transmitted. As such, the main solution is to make sure that you eliminate the conditions that are required for the mosquito to reproduce itself. Fortunately, there are a lot successful experiences regarding the control of mosquitoes, which means that the fight against the Zika Virus in Honduras, and the rest of Latin America does not really require enormous funds nor high tech measures to control. It takes a bit of discipline and effort by the communities to eradicate breeding conditions.
There is absolutely no need to cancel your trip to Honduras or Central America because of the Zika Virus. As a general rule, most of the Zika outbreaks take place in the larger cities, where people live in cramped quarters and without regular running water. This means that they have many different water receptors that are open and can easily become a perfect breeding spot for mosquitoes. If you are visiting the tourist areas in Honduras, such as Copan Ruinas, Atlantida (Tela, La Ceiba and the Cangrejal River Valley) or the Bay Islands, you will have a much lower risk of getting infected. Just in case, and as a precautionary measure, bring some bug repellent to rub on yourself to make sure that the insects do not get near to you.
The Zika Virus in Honduras is not a threat to you as a tourist, and you can have a great time visiting the country. We, at La Villa de Soledad have lived in our beautiful bed and breakfast for the past 7 years, and no one in the family has ever gotten sick with malaria, dengue or chicunguya, because we do not have many bugs out here. We seldom use insect repellent, but then again, we have plenty of frogs, toads and geckos that love to eat insects!