Zika continues raging across the continent and over 40 locally transmitted cases have been reported in Florida. Now, the ever-popular theme parks in Orlando have started taking additional preventive measures.
Although the city of Orlando takes mosquito control very seriously, as the insects can transmit many other diseases besides Zika, companies such as Disney and Universal have added additional protective measures for their patrons, like offering free repellent. Experts say it’s only a matter of time before the disease reaches Orlando, so these extra measures are welcomed.
“The Happiest (Zika-Free) Place on Earth”
Disney will offer aerosol bug spray in hotel rooms, along with free pump bottles at Walt Disney World.
There will also be additional signage informing patrons of the extra measures available, and tips such as using long sleeves and pants to avoid mosquito bites. Other theme parks will also join the efforts.
Universal Orlando will offer repellent at guest service locations. SeaWorld Entertainment has stated that they plan to offer EPA-approved insect repellent in all their parks in Orlando, and Adventure Island and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay.
The Miami Zoological Wildlife Foundation has also started to offer repellent to guests in their private zoo tours. It is also clearing the area from standing water where mosquitoes could breed.
The parks unite in preventive action
The companies stressed that they already have plenty of mosquito control measures in place, with the repellent being just an extra.
“We are accelerating preventative efforts through our property, including providing complimentary insect repellent to our guests along with helpful guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Disney in a statement.
Similar statements were given to the press by Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, giving emphasis to the future measures that will go into effect soon that are set to compliment the preventative systems already in place.
These extra protective measures the parks are taking have been praised by tourism experts and Governor Rick Scott. The new preventive plans join the local efforts to curb the spread of Zika through the region.
Other preventive actions against mosquitoes include routine maintenance and getting rid of standing water in the park grounds.
The surge of Zika in the state of Florida, which heavily depends on tourism, is pretty bad news, there has been reports of reduced business, including fewer hotel rooms being booked in the region.
A growing panic
The measures will hopefully quell the fears and concerns of tourists, in particular, pregnant women and their partners. These worries are well-founded, the Zika virus is linked to microcephaly in newborns, possibly to immunodeficiency syndromes in adults, and can be transmitted sexually.
Additionally, the virus is still not well understood, has no cure or vaccine yet, and researchers on the topic keep stumbling upon other worrying discoveries. For example, Zika can remain in an infected person’s system for longer than previously thought.
In one harrowing case, the virus stayed for over two months in a baby’s blood torrent, causing neurological decay.
Source: Orlando Sentinel