Antigua and Barbuda declared Zika-free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed Antigua and Barbuda from its Zika virus country classification scheme.

It means the WHO no longer classified the Caribbean islands as having active Zika virus transmission.

The removal follows data released by Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which found that the Zika virus transmission in the Caribbean had been interrupted for over 12 months, or was at undetectable levels, posing “very little risk” to residents and visitors.

The data was matched by that shared with CARPHA by the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and the United States of America, which showed that no Zika had been detected for more than 12 months in travellers returning from the Caribbean to those countries.

Antigua and Barbuda had its last confirmed case of the Zika virus in November 2016. There have been no cases detected since, according to The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Tourism. Surveillance and vector control were used to combat Zika, the organisations said.

Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of tourism Charles Fernandez said: “We are committed to protecting the health and safety of visitors to our shores, and we look forward to welcoming all our visitors inclusive of honeymooners and families as they can now travel with peace of mind to Antigua and Barbuda.”

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