Zika & Destination Wedding Locations

Which tropical wedding locations are safe and which are unsafe?

Choosing your wedding location includes this new “Zika” consideration.

Destination weddings and the zika virus.

Key Largo Lighthouse, Wedding Destinations, and Zika.

First and foremost, we should all realize that the United States is the safest location to plan your tropical wedding anywhere in the Americas or the Caribbean. The US has the resources and the will to contain mosquito borne diseases and has done so with Malaria, Yellow Fever, Dengue and Chickunguya for decades.

This could be the headline:

Zika is everywhere.

The risk of Zika is everywhere and is present in every state:

  1. Every day, masses of US citizens travel from the US to Zika infected areas by plane or by cruise ship without any test or quarantine.
  2. In addition, millions of people are visiting the US who are either from or have visited Zika infected areas and they enter without any test or quarantine.
  3. People have sex. And people travel.

The Correct Headline:

Zika is everywhere but under control in the US.

Malaria, Yellow fever, Dengue, and Chikungunya are other diseases carried by the same mosquitoes. The US only experiences minor outbreaks of those diseases in pockets of the US from time to time. Overall we are safe and the same holds true for Zika. But millions of people worldwide are infected or die from those diseases every year.

The comforting headline:

You can minimize risk of Zika.

The outbreaks usually occur where a lot of people from a lot of places are in dense outdoor places. And so far that has held true in the US. So far only in Miami and then only in dense, international, outdoor tourist centers has it been found. Mosquito repellent and avoiding those areas is probably wise.

The Country’s best mosquito control:

Visit places good at controlling mosquitoes.

“The Florida Keys are certainly among the leaders in the world in professional mosquito control”.

Our local area, The Florida Keys, has long been recognized as one of the very best in the world at controlling mosquitoes.

Are the Florida Keys safe?

Yes. The Florida Keys are safe for many reasons.


Being the place best equipped to kill mosquitoes means also being the best at ending any outbreak. And that place is probably the Florida Keys where more money is spent per capita on mosquito control than anywhere in the US. And, in the Florida Keys, the upper Keys including Key Largo may be the safest of all.

Daily update of Zika virus in Florida: Click Here.

The Florida Keys are already in action.

Michael Doyle, Executive Director of the local Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, heads one of the best trained and best funded departments in the world today. For a local population of only 75,000, Mr. Doyle directs almost 100 employees and inspectors. His arsenal includes truck mounted sprayers, 4 helicopters, and two turbine aircraft fully equipped for spraying. The Florida Keys has the ability to visit and treat every house individually if necessary. No other municipality can make that claim.

In other cities, mosquito control is an afterthought often run by the parks manager. But the Florida Keys operates one of the most stringent mosquito-control programs in the country.

What are we doing in addition at our own Key Largo Lighthouse wedding venues?

In addition to the millions of dollars being spent by our local government, our venues recently added a new custom built truck mounted sprayer to supplement the county’s arsenal of people and equipment when necessary.

But are we winning the fight?

Professor Walter Tabachnick, an entomologist at the University of Florida’s medical laboratory recently said, “Florida is certainly among the leaders in the world in professional mosquito control”.

“The US has controlled similar mosquito borne infections for many years. There is no reason to believe Zika will manage a sizable US outbreak either.”

For more Zika virus information: https://www.cdc.gov/zika

The Florida Keys have no cases of locally transmitted cases; and one case of a person who was infected while traveling. So is it safe. Probably very safe.

There have been some Florida cases reported. This article gives a great explanation of the cases reported in Miami. For South Florida, state health department officials believe that transmission is occurring in one several-block area that was announced on Friday. A small section of Miami is the only area of the state where the health department confirmed local transmission of Zika. Among the 10 cases announced Monday, August 1, the only area with a travel advisory is one-mile-square of Miami that includes the neighborhood of Wynwood. State and federal officials warned that a local outbreak was inevitable. Many Wynwood inhabitants are closely tied to Puerto Rico where the Zika outbreak has been significant.

“the mosquito can only travel about about 150 yards during its lifetime…”

At the present time, there is no need for the travel advisory to be broader than this specific Zika-affected area, Tom Frieden, CDC director said. Unlike other mosquito-borne diseases that can be spread by humans and animals, there are no other animal reservoirs for the Zika virus other than infected humans.

In addition, the mosquito can only travel about about 150 yards during its lifetime, he said.

Latest CDC information: https://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html

Caribbean, Central and South American Wedding Destination and Zika.

I maintain a home in central America. And I was born in South America and still visit there often. I can tell you firsthand that sufficient budgets do not exist for mosquito eradication in either Central or South America . I assume that the same holds true for the Caribbean and Mexico. Dengue and Chikungunya infections are and have been common there. Those diseases are spread by the same mosquitoes that spreads Zika. It follows that the Zika problem will linger in those places the same as Dengue and Chikungunya have. Without a massive new mosquito eradication effort, those areas will just need to wait for a vaccine or cure.

So, for as long as US citizens travel throughout the Americas and Caribbean, a threat of infected travelers returning will persist. Therefore, it would be naive to think that the US will never have a mosquito borne case of Zika. That same mosquito can be infected with dengue, yellow fever, or Chikungunya, and we have experienced mosquito transmitted cases in the US of those diseases. But we can also find comfort in that cases are rare and never allowed to multiply out of control as we have read about in the rest of the Americas and the Caribbean.

So how does it happen? How does the Mosquito borne transmission take place?

Mosquitoes don’t begin the cycle. Humans do. A mosquito needs to pick up the Zika virus from one human and carry it to another human. So our ability to travel to other countries brings the Zika virus back with us to locations anywhere in the US to begin the cycle.

How does the cycle end?

It dies with the mosquito. The virus is not lurking in the air or water. Zika is carried in a mosquito that acquired the virus from another human. When the mosquito dies, the Zika virus dies with it. Killing the mosquito ends the cycle. So, if we are good at controlling the mosquito population, we also control the disease. It is well documented that the majority of mosquitoes remain within a relatively small area of about 150 yards. So if there is ever a case of a mosquito borne infection, that area would be focused on, even including house to house hand spraying and inspections. That level of focused eradication is what protects the US from the epidemics proliferating in South America.