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Zika virus not considered a big worry for tourists

By the Medical Vacation in Costa Rica staff

The latest outbreak of the mosquito-born zika virus is not a big worry in Costa Rica, unlike in neighboring countries.

Consequently, medical tourists are not being advised to take any precautions except those usual to guard against mosquitoes.

The health ministry has discarded 161 cases of possible zika infections since the beginning  of the year, according to data provided by the Ministerio de Salud.

According to Daniel Salas, director of the health monitoring unit, the only eight confirmed cases of zika have been discovered in Sámara and Nosara in the province of Guanacaste on the far Pacific coast.

There, six women and two men got the disease. In a  couple of cases, the individuals appear to have gotten the disease from Nicaragua. A  pregnant woman who was found to be zika positive already delivered a healthy child, the ministry said.

There may be another one that showed up after Salas gave his statistics. That was the only case in the Central Valley where the bulk of the population lives.

Doctors have said that pregnant women could be at risk of delivering children with smaller heads if infected.

Salas said that the success in killing the mosquito and its larvae has been due to alertness from the communities who had been fighting dengue for years. Dengue is carried by the same mosquito species, and every yer there are extensive programs to eliminate the mosquito vectors.

On the other hand, tourism authorities have remain calm and trust the Costa Rica health system to deal with the virus accordingly, so that it does not affect the flow of tourists.

“This is a high sensitive industry and any threat may have a negative impact on it. However, we are the Central American country that has better dealt with the disease, so we don´t seen any impact on our business on the short term.” said Mauricio Ventura, minister of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

Health workers have also heavily fumigated  non-traditional waste, such as old tires, furniture, TV sets and other home appliances where zika larvae grow, he said.  There are extensive government fumigation efforts in many municipalities of the country, and responsible tourism operators also have private fumigation schedules at their hospitality sites. Some spray every day.

Private companies have also collaborated by providing volunteers who perform regular street cleanups.

The use of two larvicides have proven to be very effective: Abate and spinosad. The chemicals destroy zika eggs that have been laid on rugged surfaces hard to reach with traditional fumigation.

Zika has raised bigger concerns among population for it neurological effects and that makes people more engaged in avoiding the disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that mosquitoes that spread zika usually do not live at elevations above 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) because of environmental conditions. Travelers whose itineraries are limited to areas above this elevation are at minimal risk of getting zika from a mosquito.
--April 14, 2016


Possible tax would affect medical procedures

By the Medical Vacation in Costa Rica staff

Those considering major medical work in Costa Rica might save money do having the work done now instead of next year.

The Costa Rican legislature is considering a bill that would levy sales tax on the work of medical professionals. That includes dental work and surgical procedures.

If the bill passes and becomes law, medical tourists will find prices increased by 13 to 15 percent, depending on the effective date of the measure. That could add nearly $400 or more dollars to a bill for dental implants
–April 26, 2016



Expats and medical tourists should do their homework

Never does the phrase "you get what you pay for" apply more strongly than in seeking medical care in Costa Rica. A medical tourist who looks only to price is bound to have troubles. Some of them can be very serious.

See our story HERE!


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