USA – Zika Virus – US Coast Guard Marine Safety Information Bulletin

12 February 2016

Members will be aware of growing concern over the spread of the Zika virus, which is linked to an increase in neurological disorders and neonatal malformations. It was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 1 February 2016.

The US Coast Guard have recently issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin reminding Vessels of the existing requirements under the CDC to report hazardous conditions and illnesses. The requirements are as follows:-

  1. to report sick or deceased crew or passengers within the last 15 days to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC);
  2. the owner, agent, master, operator, or person in charge of a vessel is required to immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard Sector whenever there is a hazardous condition aboard the vessel. While the presence of a person with Zika like symptoms does not by itself constitute a hazardous condition, vessel operators should report suspected cases or other unusual circumstances whenever they are in doubt.

Amongst other things, the Bulletin sets out preventative measures that can be taken and where to obtain updated information on the virus. A full copy of the Bulletin can be accessed by clicking here.

For further information about the Zika virus, Members can review the WHO Emergency Statement on the virus(click here) and the WHO Media Centre Webpage (click here).