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Breaking News Aruba – Zika Outbreak, Should You Worry About Being Infected?

Once a week (on Sundays) I do a recap of breaking news Aruba.

If this is your first time reading my newsletter – welcome!

Breaking News Aruba

Staying up to date with what’s happening on the island means you need to read the local newspaper. But that’s hard to do if you don’t understand the local language – Papiamento!

The reason I started this Aruba news bulletin is to keep you up to date with what’s happening on the island, because I know how much it means to you to stay connected with your home away from home.

Where do I get the information for breaking news Aruba?

Well…

I watch the news nearly every day on tv, read local newspapers (online and some in print) and occasionally listen to a radio station locals call to discuss what’s happening on the island.

I pick the most relevant breaking news that you can relate to and translate it into English.

So let’s get started with this week’s recap of breaking news Aruba….



Zika Outbreak in Aruba

Reporting about zika in Aruba is something very delicate, because many visitors (including you) might get scared to visit Aruba, in fear of getting infected.

But I believe being honest about the situation is the best thing anyone can do, and that’s exactly what the report is about – the truth about the zika situation in Aruba.

Believe it or not, Aruba just came out of a zika outbreak about a month ago. The outbreak went under the radar and unnoticed to many locals and visitors.

In the month of February the department of public health received notifications from doctors, that a number of people walked in their office with zika like symptoms, which are high fever, joint pain and rashes. To be specific, there were a total of 1185 unconfirmed cases, but a total of 298 people were confirmed to have the zika virus, 12 people were diagnosed with chikungunya and 1 with dengue.

The confirmed cases (and unconfirmed ones) are from people who live in the district of San Nicolas, Savaneta, Pos Chiquito and Santa Cruz. About 65% of these cases are from inhabitants who are between 25 and 64 years old.

Out of these reported cases, 7 pregnant women have reported to have symptoms that point in the direction of Zika. However, only 2 of these women are confirmed to actually have the zika virus.

The babies of the pregnant women, have not yet developed any sign of being infected with zika. Until today there are no babies born with microcephaly (a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected) in Aruba.

The Current Zika Situation in April 2017

The zika outbreak was something that we went through in the month of February, because all the confirmed and unconfirmed cases were reported almost two months ago.

So why are we hearing about an outbreak until now?

The reason that a public notification about any kind “zika outbreak” hasn’t been given in the previous months, is because it takes about 4 weeks to get the results, to know if you’re dealing with an outbreak or not.

So the current results that have been obtained last week from a laboratory in the netherlands should be interpreted in retrospective, because they reflect the zika situation in the month of February.

Beneath the Epidemic Line

The department of public health is continually collecting reports of possible zika cases by doctors from patients who walk in and have the symptoms.

So, the good news is that the amount of reported cases in the month of March and April has decreased significantly. The total amount of registered cases to this date is well below the epidemic line.

Despite a decrease of reported zika cases, the department of public health is treating the current situation as if there’s still an outbreak, to prevent one from happening again and to eliminate the amount of mosquitoes in Aruba as soon as possible.

What’s being done to combat zika?

Since last year when it started to rain a lot, the department of public health, began to take action and fumigated around the island. They have been continually doing this throughout last year and in 2017.

Last month they swept Aruba by fumigating every corner of the island.

Aruba’s tourism board and hotels are aware of the situation and are also treating it as if there is still a zika outbreak at the moment. They have various awareness projects to inform visitors about mosquitoes and have an effective plan in place (by doing continuous check ups for mosquitoes and breeding grounds) that practically keeps the hotel area’s mosquito free.

Since the latest reports came out from the month of February, the department of health has been inspecting the houses were most of the zika cases were reported for any signs of mosquito breeding nests.

They are following a plan given to them by the pan-american health organization and world health organization to combat mosquitoes.

The department of health has been doing a good job combating mosquitoes since the month of February, because the amount of reported cases until now is very low.

Despite their successes, they have stepped up their plans and ways of combating mosquitoes in Aruba.

They noticed a progress compared to last year, because in 2016 it took about 8 weeks before the whole island could be swiped and fumigated. Now they are doing the same job in less than a month, because they invested in new equipment, insecticides and have more inspectors to control the island.

Prevention when in Aruba

When you travel to Aruba, you should take precautionary matters into your own hand to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. You can do this by…

  • sleeping under a mosquito net, (if you don’t have air condition in your room).

  • Always put on mosquito repellent

  • Wear clothes that cover your whole body during the day

  • And avoid any areas that can have possible mosquito breeding nests (sites  that have a lot of rainwater puddles).

So should you be worried about zika in Aruba?

No…

You shouldn’t be worried about getting Zika in Aruba, but you should protect yourself against mosquito bites, just like you were at home (or any other place in the world).

Based on the current statistics, only one or two visitors were infected by zika, and this was about a year ago. Since then there was no reported cases including visitors.

Another reason why you shouldn’t worry about zika, is because the hotels are doing a very good job keeping the resorts mosquito free. To reassure you about this, the department of public health, did several tests around the hotel area for mosquitoes (and possible breeding grounds) and confirmed that the amount of mosquitoes in the hotel area is low and practically non existent compared to the “inside” of the island.

However, there are people who always get bitten by mosquitoes (maybe because their blood taste sweet to mosquitoes), and then there are people who confirm that they didn’t even notice a mosquito during their entire vacation in Aruba.

You also shouldn’t worry about zika in Aruba, because the department of health is required to report the islands zika situation to the world health organization and centers for disease control and prevention (CDC).

If there was any kind of danger, the CDC would publish this information. Until now, the CDC website hasn’t been updated with any kind of travel bans, since last year when there was an international travel warning to the Caribbean region.

Despite of the “old zika outbreak”, the situation is normal and under control at the moment. The reported cases came from locals, and the department of public health is passing by each of these homes to inspect their yards for possible breeding nests.

So you shouldn’t be worried about zika in Aruba, however it’s the few locals who have breeding grounds in their yards that are a concern to the local authorities.

Aruba Keeps It Professional

Aruba is one of the few places that is still reporting about the zika situation. Other countries have decided not to let out any information about their zika situation. This include other islands in the Caribbean region, south america and central america.

The fact that Aruba is willing to publish their zika situation, knowing that it can potentially hurt tourism, means you can put your trust in the island’s department of public health, because it’s clear they have nothing to hide.

It’s better that I inform you about what the truth is in the local newspapers, instead that you come here and be surprised that no one told you about what has been going on.

Now you know what’s really going on and you can make an informed decision about travelling to Aruba and how you can protect yourself.




Arikok Newly Protected Nature Sites

Last week princess Beatrix was in Aruba, and she officially transferred two of the most beautiful areas of Aruba under protection of the island’s only national park – Arikok.

The two nature areas that are now protected by Arikok are Spaans lagoon and bubali plas.

Spaans lagoon, is an addition of almost 70 hectares for Arikok. This site also has double the amount of bird species that live inside the national park itself.

During a press conference, the president of Arikok, Greg Peterson, divulged that in the future in total of 16 nature areas will fall under the protection of the park. They have been trying to get these areas under their protection since 2010, but it was until 2013 that the members of the parliament unanimously voted for these 16 areas to be protected by Arikok.

Management of Arikok said they are working on a plan to maintain the nature areas under their responsibilities. The funds needed to maintain these areas are going to be subsided by the government.

At the moment Spaans lagoon is free to enter, however it’s not sure if they will start charging for entry like they do at Arikok. If they do start charging for entrance, the money that will be collected will be used to maintain the Spaans lagoon.

If they are going to charge for entry, they will need more park rangers, which means more locals can get a job. It’s a win – win situation for everyone, especially for the island’s flora and fauna.

breaking news Aruba

Princess Beatrix receiving a beautiful painting at bubali plas.

Restoration of Spaans lagoons mangroves

A part of the mangroves of Spaans lagoon has been destroyed due to the construction of a new bridge near pos chiquito.

To compensate for the loss of these mangroves, Arikok is digging a canal (150 meter long and 2.5 meter wide) on the north side of the lagoon close to Frenchman’s pass, connecting to the open sea. The canal is going to be created in such a way that it provides a favorable condition allowing for growth of new mangroves trees.

The management of Arikok also mentioned that they may host an event where locals and visitors can plant a mangrove tree, which will accelerate the growth process.

Wouldn’t you want to plant a mangrove tree, if you got the chance to? 

breaking news Aruba

Restoration of mangroves in Spaans lagoon.

Aruba Smart Community

The government wants the island to transition 100% to renewable energy by 2020.

To reach this goal, in 2014 they started a project to build a smart community of 20 homes. The project has been put on hold for a while since it started, but today, the first sustainable homes, are finally visible from a distance.

The community is located in the district of Santa Cruz on a hillside overlooking the ocean.

This smart community is going to be platform that offers companies a chance to test their sustainable innovations in a real-life environment. It also provides opportunities for local and international companies and research institutes to test specific sustainable innovations.

The current stakeholders linked to this project are: the Government of Aruba, FCCA, Utilities Aruba NV, WEB Aruba NV, NV ELMAR, SETAR NV and Caribbean Branch Office TNO.

breaking news Aruba

A view of the new smart community

More About The Sustainable Houses

The homes will be built in a sustainable way and will be provided with appliances directed towards low energy consumption. This means they will be testing out different types of insulation and use of sustainable, low-maintenance building materials.

Every house is going to be unique and will be monitored to provide information on the use of energy, water and other factors relevant for sustainability.

The knowledge gained from this project will be used in the building of future homes on the island to make Aruba 100% green.

When the project is complete, the government will start taking petitions from people who wish to own one of these homes.

Do you have a dream to live in Aruba? If so, I would look into this community, because it looks like a great investment.

“Rosario Bibo” At Alto Vista

With the upcoming Easter season, most people get ready to start enjoying the holiday. To start out the Easter season, Alto Vista Chapel is organizing a “Rosario Bibo” at the alto vista chapel (April 10, 2017 at 7:00 PM).

If you’re wondering what a rosario bibo means, it’s a rosary night, where everyone is invited to come and pray for the entire island. This includes prayers for families, our youths, the people who are sick, and for everyone who you know that could use a prayer or just to say thanks for your current blessings in life.

If you happen to be on the island, visit the alto vista chapel for the rosario bibo. This time around the chapel will be totally different, a must experience between the locals.

breaking news Aruba

If you’re in Aruba, go to the alto vista chapel for rosario bibo.

Beach Policy is not Being Followed

On July 1, 2016, there was a new beach policy introduced, that would regulate Aruba’s number one attraction – the beach!

The beach policy includes regulation of water sports, reducing sprawl of parasols and more policies to maintain order on Aruba’s beaches.

A few days ago the minister of justice held a meeting with all stakeholders, because they were complaining that no is really following the rules set by the government.

The minister of justice said during a press conference, that they will be acting strongly against those who are not applying the new beach policy to their business on the beach. This includes chair rentals, water sports and other businesses on the beach.

They are going to examine who hasn’t been applying the new policy, and will revoke their license.

If you want to review the beach policy click here.

Suriname Airways Now Flies To Orlando

Suriname Airways has much reason to celebrate, because they did their first inauguration flight on April 3, 2017 to Sanford Orlando international airport.

According to the CEO of the airlines, they decided to open the gates to fly to Orlando, because many locals travel to Disney world (and many locals live in Orlando, especially students.).

The new flight to Orlando is also good for Aruba’s tourism, because that means people who live in area of Orlando, can also have a chance to visit the island, thus making an impact on the market in Orlando.

It’s also good news for you, if you want to fly through Orlando to Aruba, now you can try out Suriname airways service!

breaking news Aruba

CEO of Suriname airways, Robbi Lachmising (left) and CEO of Aruba’s Airport James Fazio (right)

Aruba’s Best Athletes in 2016

This week Aruba’s best athletes were honored for their achievements during the sporting year of 2016.

The event is held every year (for 14 consecutive years already), by Aruba’s local lottery company (Lotto Aruba). The event is organized to show gratitude, and gives motivation to Aruba’s local athletes to do even better.

Different sport federations on the island nominated their best athletes and only two of them were selected as Aruba’s best.

The first sporter, Renze Postma (a triathlon athlete), won Aruba’s local athlete award. This is the third time she’s winning the local athlete award in a row.

breaking news Aruba

Aruba’s best local sporter, Renze Postma (right)

And the absolute winner of 2016, claiming Aruba’s best international athlete is Aksel Samardzic (beat tennis player), who is representing the island internationally.

breaking news Aruba

Aruba’s best international athlete, Aksel Samardzic (right)

Much luck to these two winners in their careers – I hope they keep breaking records, and make Aruba famous in the sporting world.

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6 Comments on Breaking News Aruba – Zika Outbreak, Should You Worry About Being Infected?

  1. Your doing a great job getting info to us about our home away from home. Your efforts are much appreciated

  2. Gail Woodrow // 9th April 2017 at 7:28 pm // Reply

    Hi, Newsletter is great…..you are cute and great, too. Have been going to LaCaabana for 39 years and love it, the island and the wonderful people I’ve met. Maybe we will meet some day soon. Just came back from a 2 week stay last week. Regards

  3. It is Disney World in Orlando. Disneyland is in Anaheim, California.

  4. Hi!! I’d like to know how is the Zika situation in Aruba this year? Do you have any updates? I’ve been there in may, and I’m planning of getting pregnant, but I just heard about this Zika thing when I got back. And now the last update of the cases that I found was published in CDC in January 18!! Tks!!

    • Hi Chrissie,

      There has not been any alarming zika cases. Here on the island the department of infectious diseases strive on prevention. The entire island gets fumigated frequently. However, they also recommend you use bugs repellent spray.

      Greetings.

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