Hurricane Sam (updated 24 Sep 2021 @ 8am)
📍 Hurricane Sam is expected to strengthen to a "major" hurricane (Category 3) on Friday night or Saturday. The current forecast projection has the storm passing to the northeast of Puerto Rico. We will be keeping an eye on this system over coming days to monitor its development.
🌊 Expect storm surge from the hurricane to affect our beaches, especially on the north and east sides of the island, during the first half of the coming week.
🌦️ Keep an eye on our weather page for updates from the National Hurricane Center
Temporary Mandates from 02 Sep to 14 Oct 2021 (updated 20 Sep 2021)
😷 Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone, regardess of vaccination status, in public, indoor spaces, and in outdoor spaces where 50 or more people are gathered.
🛒 Restaurants, bars, and stores must remain closed from 12 midnight to 5am. This limitation does not apply to supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, food take out and delivery, or healthcare.
🍺 Alcohol cannot be sold anywhere, nor consumed in public, from 12 midnight to 5am.
🚩 Effective 02 Sep to 14 Oct 2021 per executive order EO-2021-065. Note that this executive order was extended until 14 Oct on 20 Sep.
Current COVID-19 Mandates, with no end date (updated 30 Aug 2021)
😷 Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone, regardess of vaccination status, in public, indoor spaces.
🏨 In order to check-in to any lodging facility (short-term rentals, AirBNB, hotels, resorts, etc), all members of your party are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older. If you are unvaccinated and staying more than a week, you are required to show new negative test results weekly. Effective 16 Aug 2021 per executive order EO-2021-062.
🍔 In order to be admitted to a bunch of different places (restaurants, bars, theaters, tours, excursions, casinos, etc) you are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. Other types of businesses may, at their option, require this documention to access their facility.This applies to all people 12 (twelve) years old and older. Effective 23 Aug 2021 per executive order EO-2021-063.
✈️ All domestic travelers arriving in Puerto Rico are are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older.If you are un-vaccinated and do not have negative results when you arrive to PR, you have 48 hours to produce those results. Otherwise you will be fined $300 per person. See the PR Government Travel Safe site for details, and to submit your contact tracing information

Chikungunya – What You Need to Know

Aedes aegypti mosquito

On 29 May 2014, the Puerto Rico Department of Health (Departamento de Salud) reported the first case of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus in Puerto Rico.

Just a few months later, cases are greatly diminished, but the virus is still around but chances of acquiring it are very low.

Chikungunya was primarily found in Africa and Asia, but started spreading in the Caribbean in 2013.

If you have plans to travel to Puerto Rico you might be concerned. But, before you get all freaked out, do a little research, and understand the facts.

What is Chikungunya?

Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-GUN-ye) virus (abbreviated CHIKV) is a disease transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and intense joint pain. The virus alone is seldom fatal, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling.

Chikungunya distribution

Chikungunya is endemic in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, but recent outbreaks have spread the disease over a wider range. In December 2013, Chikungunya was confirmed on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, and it has since spread throughout the Caribbean — including Puerto Rico. Chikungunya virus may be introduced into areas by travelers who become infected while visiting other areas where the virus exists.

How is Chikungunya Spread?

Chikungunya cannot be spread directly from person to person — so you can’t catch it from shaking hands, a sneeze, a doorknob or a toilet seat. Chikungunya is spread from person to person by the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya is most often spread between people by the by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Here in Puerto Rico, Aedes aegypti is the principal mosquito carrier of Chikungunya virus. This species of mosquito is closely associated with humans and their dwellings. They like to live and breed in a place that is close to their food source — humans — and generally in urban areas, where there are more people available for them to bite! Aedes aegypti prefers to rest in darker cool areas, such as under furniture and in closets — convenient for them to bite people indoors and/or around the household and yard.

The mosquito becomes infected with Chikungunya virus when it bites a person who already has the Chikungunya virus in their blood, A single infected mosquito can infect multiple people, who in turn can infect multiple mosquitoes — and the cycle continues.

What are the Symptoms of Chikungunya?

Chikungunya is characterized by the abrupt onset of fever, often accompanied by severe joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms last about a week, but the joint pain may persist for weeks or even months.

The symptoms of Chikungunya are similar to the symptoms of dengue (which we also have here in Puerto Rico), so it is possible to mis-diagnose the disease.

CDC Chikungunya Symptoms

What is the treatment for Chikungunya?

See your doctor if you suspect that you have Chikungunya, and tell your doctor that you recently visited the Caribbean.

There is no specific medication for treatment of a Chikungunya infection. People who think they have Chikungunya should use ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain. They should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult a physician.

How to Prevent Chikungunya

There is no vaccination to protect you from Chikungunya. So the way to prevent the virus is to prevent getting bitten by an infected mosquito in the first place.

The adult mosquitoes feed (bite) inside a dwelling as well as outside near their “homes”, during the day and at night when the lights are on. To protect yourself, use repellent on your skin while indoors or out. When possible, wear long sleeves and pants for additional protection. Also, make sure window and door screens are secure and without holes. If available, use air-conditioning.

CDC Chikungunya Prevention

Use mosquito spray (Raid Flying Insect, or something similar) in your home and your hotel room. Even though we don’t live in a high dengue area, we still spray dark corners and under the furniture a couple times a day, just as a precaution.

For locals, mosquitoes breed in standing water. If there are any places where water lays around your home or workplace, be sure to dump them on a daily basis. This includes pet water bowls, saucers under plants, buckets and anywhere else water might accumulate. Eliminating places where mosquitoes breed will reduce the number of mosquitoes available to spread dengue. We can all help to break the cycle.

How Widespread is Chikungunya in Puerto Rico?

At it’s peak in 2016, there were a few thousand confirmed cases in Puerto Rico. Since then , the Puerto Rico Department of Health has a few hundred suspected cases a month, but there have been no confirmed cases in a while.

As an individual, your chances of getting Chikungunya in Puerto Rico are very low.

You are not likely to catch Chikungunya at the beach, in the rain forest, on a bio bay tour or on a snorkeling tour — as these are just not places that are that hospitable to the Aedes aegypti mosquito. But remember, no matter where you go or what you do, you might want to take precautions to reduce your chances of getting Chikungunya. I feel it is better to be safe than sorry.

For more Information

The info we presented here was derived from information contained in various authoritative sources. If you want more detailed information, please refer to the following references that we used in preparing this article.

Mosquito photos by James Gathany, Scientific Photographer with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From the CDC Public Health Image Library.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

There are 2 comments on this article. Add to the Discussion »

Not sure why she wouldn't add the 7 yo or you adults in long term worries. Dengue is also a concern. But numbers of cases are so low right now...9 cases of Zika this week- out of 4 million people. Chances are pretty slim of getting it, especially for tourists who take precautions like staying in a room with screens, wearing bug repellent and spraying the room with Raid....like the CDC advises. But you should get the facts and decide for your family what is best for you.

Comment by Gwenn on 12 Feb 2016

I am planning to visit PR IN March. Will be with family which includes a 3 and 7 year old child. I have been told by an infectious disease doctor that she would worry about the 3 yr.. old because we don't know the lasting effects of Zika or Chickungunya! Any comments?

Comment by MAureen Richmond on 11 Feb 2016

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