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Updates on Jamaica Travel Information

photo of  Montego Bay, Jamaica by D Ramey Logan, CC 3.0

Local mosquito transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika) has been reported in Jamaica. Local mosquito transmission means that mosquitoes in the area are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people.

Because Zika virus is primarily spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to Jamaica protect themselves from mosquito bites. The 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.

What can travelers do to prevent Zika?

There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), or IR3535. Always use as directed.

  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.

  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

  • Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.

Sexual transmission of Zika virus from a man is possible. If you have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a man while traveling, you should use condoms.

Safety and Security

Violence and shootings occur regularly in certain areas of Kingston and Montego Bay. Embassy employees, as well as private U.S. citizens, are advised to avoid traveling into high-threat areas including, but not limited to, Mountain View, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Cassava Piece, and Arnett Gardens in Kingston, and Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street in Montego Bay. Sudden demonstrations are rare but can occur, during which demonstrators often construct roadblocks or otherwise block streets.

Jamaican media reports on fire safety indicate that nightclubs and other places of entertainment are often not in compliance with fire safety regulations. Overcrowding is common and you should remain aware of your surroundings at all times.

Jamaica currently lacks the infrastructure to provide shelter and protection for travelers who temporarily become destitute during their stay on the island. You should be aware that under such circumstances you may be stranded without recourse unless and until family, friends, or the Embassy can provide appropriate assistance. In some cases, the Jamaica Tourist Board can also help.

Serious and even fatal accidents have occurred involving jet skis near beach resorts. Swimmers, snorkelers, divers, and kayakers should be mindful of jet ski traffic in the area, especially, but not exclusively, outside of roped swimming areas.

Only use Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) approved taxis or minibuses for excursions, airport transfers and sightseeing. Don’t hail a taxi in the street and don’t share a taxi with strangers. Most hotels and resorts have assigned JTB drivers who carry photo ID and display a prominent blue JTB sticker on the front windscreen.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Jamaica is 119.

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