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Community Effort Needed to Make Jaco Beach Zika Safe

Costa Rica News – Coordinador Nacional Control de Vectores, Ministerio de Salud, Costa Rica Dr. Rodrigo Marin yesterday told a standing room only crowd of Jaco businesspeople and representatives from the tourist industry that the Zika virus is a real health and economic threat to this coastal town of over 15,000 residents plus a popular tourist and world renowned surf destination.

zika virus costa ricaDr. Marin and his crew of 42 have been in the Jaco area since May 9, 2016 fumigating homes and yesterday he said, “It’s now the community’s responsibility to address the issue of garbage pick-up and eliminating Zika mosquito breeding sites.

“Fumigating can accomplish only so much — it kills adult mosquitoes, but it does not kill eggs nor growing larva which is found in stagnant water and garbage.”

Dr. Marin said mosquitoes are smart. “They love plastic containers and lay their eggs in plastic where water evaporates and eggs cling to the surface of the container. The eggs can lay dormant for up to a year. Just add water and the eggs turn to larva and the mosquitoes appear within 10 days.

Fumigating has an immediate, but not a long-term effect.”

The meeting was organized by a Jaco civic group which came together after hearing Dr. Marin talk about health risks to the community and that the ISA World Surf Competitions scheduled for August 2016 could be cancelled.

The purpose of the non-political, non-profit group is to educate the community about the Zika virus and its health and economic implications while working with the community and local governments to clean-up garbage and ensure that Jaco is Zika Safe.

The civic organization is headed by Robert Sinclair who yesterday told the crowd that the Zika issue threatening Jaco is neither overblown nor an exaggeration. Sinclair said, ” It’s real, we’ve already heard the World Health Organization (WHO) warn travelers not to visit areas where Zika has been identified, and that includes Costa Rica.”

Sinclair presented a comprehensive and sustainable plan which focuses on total community involvement and ranges from education in schools to massive garbage clean-ups and working with the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, the municipality and the business community to achieve Zika Safe goals.

Sinclair also asked for community donations to fund the program.

Dr. Marin concluded the meeting saying he was enthused by the community response, “Today the situation seems impossible, but we have time to address these problems if we pull together, if everyone gets involved and if the effort is sustained.”

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