US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

ZikaZika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus), but can also be transmitted by a man infected with Zika to his sexual partners. Most people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms, but for those who do, the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Severe reactions requiring hospitalization are uncommon. However, Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, as well as other problems in fetuses and infants infected with Zika before birth. Until more is known, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women avoid traveling to areas with Zika.

Outbreaks of Zika are occurring in many countries and territories. As of April 20, 14 cases have been reported here in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health is offering free Zika testing for pregnant women as well as home/school/historical site inspections and any needed treatment for those women who are tested. Pregnant women are also eligible to receive a free Zika Prevention Kit from healthcare clinics across the Virgin Islands. The kits include educational materials in English and Spanish, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent, permethrin spray repellent for treating clothing, condoms to avoid sexual transmission of Zika, a thermometer for women to screen themselves for symptoms, treatment tabs for preventing mosquitoes from breeding in standing water and a bed net.

We here at UVICELL Safety in Paradise encourage employers to establish and/or maintain preventive measures to minimize the impact of Zika within our territory. This includes identifying and eliminating mosquito sources, promptly repairing screens for windows and doors and providing insect repellent for employee use in outdoor locations. In addition, employers may print CDC infographics, fact sheets and posters to promote employee awareness on this mosquito-borne disease.

If you have symptoms of Zika or are pregnant, please see your local Primary Care Provider. The Department of Health has partnered with many clinics so that testing for Zika virus is available free of charge. The Department of Health continues to provide testing for the Zika virus as well. For local information about Zika Virus, call the Department of Health Emergency Operations Center at 340-712-6205. For more general information about the Zika Virus, call toll free 1-800-CDC-INFO.

For further assistance regarding this topic in the form of free consultation services, policy development or training, please contact the UVICELL Safety in Paradise office at 340-693-1146 or via email at We look forward to helping you meet your safety and health needs!

*UVICELL Safety in Paradise can help small and medium-sized employers by providing free OSHA On-Site Consultation Services. To learn more about this free and confidential safety and health program visit