A particularly nasty virus is making it’s way around the world in quick fashion. In fact, the World Health Organization has already said this bug is “spreading explosively” through the Americas. It’s called the Zika virus, and is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. In a relatively short amount of time, nearly 40 people in at least 11 states have been diagnosed with the Zika virus in the U.S.
Now, this virus isn’t deadly to a relatively healthy person (at least that’s what I gather from everything I’ve read). The symptoms include fever, rashes, muscle/joint pain, headaches, and more. What makes this a nasty virus is what it does to a baby while it’s developing inside of mom.
Babies of a mom who has the Zika virus often develop microcephaly, which is a birth defect that causes a baby’s head and brain to be smaller than expected.
Travel to certain places isn’t recommended
Microcephaly is, no doubt, one of the reasons why the CDC is putting out travel warnings. Right now, there is a Level 2 travel alert to areas that are getting hit pretty hard with the Zika virus. That list includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. A Level 3 travel alert is the highest.
If you are pregnant, or hope to soon become pregnant, this warning is something you should take seriously before going to one of these regions.
Airlines are offering Zika refunds
If you’ve bought plane tickets to an affected area anytime soon, many airlines are now offering up refunds. All three major U.S. airlines ( Delta, American, and United) are now offering travel waivers to people traveling to the impacted areas.
This is good, because it allows those who already bought tickets (pregnant or not) to change their travel plans.
Why this can get even scarier
Brazil seems to be ground zero for this current outbreak, and the 2016 Summer Olympics are taking place there in a few months. What don’t you want when trying to prevent an outbreak? Thousands of people from all over the world gathering in one place for a month, before going back home. That is not a good mixture if you want to control this bug from spreading.
I think airlines and the people who use those airlines are beginning to realize just how serious the Zika virus can be. The fact that many airlines are letting passengers change their travel plans, or are giving refunds to those traveling to affected areas is a good thing. I’m certainly no expert, but it looks more and more like the Zika virus outbreak will continue for the time being. It’s something airlines and travelers alike will have to get used to. And the more steps in place to keep this disease from spreading the better it is for everyone.
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