Galapagos from Ecuador
Global map of the predicted distribution of Aedes albopictus, another mosquito of the Aedes family that researchers believe transmits the Zika virus. (1 = Full presence of Aedes mosquito, 0= No presence of Aedes mosquito)
As I am sure you have heard, leading health organizations, including the WHO and CDC, are focused on addressing the spread of Zika virus. This blog piece is intended to help travelers to Ecuador and the Galapagos understand their risk, which can be low, and provide information on precautions that can be taken to avoid contracting Zika. The real concern surrounding Zika has been directed toward the suspected link between the virus and a severe birth defect know as microcephaly, which will be addressed at the end of this blog.
Understanding How Zika Virus Can Affect Your Trip
A key way for travelers to manage their risk concerning Zika is in understanding that the virus is primarily transmitted to people via mosquito bites, which is why the following information is important:
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health recently reported that Zika is occurring in the country at elevations below 1, 200 meter (3, 937 ft). It’s easy to avoid these lower elevations in Ecuador simply by flying into Quito at 2, 850 meters (9, 350 ft) above sea level. The fact that the surrounding highlands stand at 9, 000 ft and up has made both Quito and its high elevation surrounds immune from other mosquito born afflictions such as malaria. The CDC reports, for example, that malaria is not known to occur in the Ecuadorian highlands.