Zika virus: ITF releases guidelines for seafarers


Zika pThe ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has issued an information factsheet in a bid to help seafarers around the world to protect themselves from the Zika virus.

The virus, caused by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, is currently circulating in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. There have also been reported cases of the virus being spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact. The Zika virus disease usually causes a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis for a period of two to seven days but it is particularly dangerous for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and has been linked to genetic birth defects.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.

ITF maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith said: “Our business is helping to protect the health and safety of seafarers. They are a particularly vulnerable group to this type of disease because they are in transit a lot of the time and there are a number of major trade routes passing through areas impacted by the Zika virus“The reality for seafarers is that if they’re going to be able to take any precautions against contracting the virus – things like sleeping under mosquito nets, using repellent, wearing light covering clothing, covering water containers – they need to prepare in advance, before they are at sea for a number or weeks or even months.”

Click image below to download the Zika Virus guidelines.


Source: ITF

See also relevant article: WHO: Zika virus recommendations



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  1. considering that the virus is only dangerous to pregnant women or more specifically their unborn children, and also noticing that most, if not pretty much all, commercial seafarers are men, this post is about as important and useful tits on a bull.

    why try to scare sailors of a virus that causes a mild fever, they'd be worse of if they contracted the flu during their land stay.

    and in all honesty no sailor will abstain from going ashore after a journey for fear of spreading a disease that poses no danger to him.

    stop over-exxagerating minor illnesses to appear like life-threatening epidemics. there are countless diseases that when contracted during pregnancy can cause complications.

  2. Dear Paul,
    Although your comment makes sense, you are looking at the problem from a wrong angle. The World Health Organisation needs to limit the spread of the virus in order to protect the pregnant women and their unborn children. Seafarers are an excellent "agent" for the virus because they travel the world, they are in great numbers, thus can be an excellent "vessel" to take the virus from A to B and escalate the problem, exponentially. I hope this makes sense to you and our readers.