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Zika Impacts Tourism; Canadians Cancel Trips to Avoid the Virus

Oct 29, 2016 10:23 AM EDT
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Be it pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, or those who are planning to get pregnant, all are very cautious in taking vacations and out-of-the-country holidays because of the Zika virus scare. In Canada, a large portion of the locals has canceled their trips just to be safe from the virus. 

The Zika virus was originally identified as a mosquito-borne flavivirus in monkeys. The first cases were recorded in Uganda, where the virus was also identified in humans. If infected by the virus, the person usually feels joint and muscle pains, headaches, and skin rash. These are complemented by fever and conjunctivitis, which were normally observed to last for a maximum of 7 days.

Read here: Zika Virus Fact Sheet from WHO

Once detected to have Zika, it eventually affects the developing fetus inside the womb of a pregnant woman or may pose the same threat to those who are planning to have a baby. Their offspring may suffer from a neurological disorder called Guillaim-Barre syndrome or may have smaller heads termed as microcephaly.

With these terrifying effects of the virus, Canadian travelers have been reconsidering their trips, especially if their destinations were reported to have Zika cases. According to Dave Davidson, Barrhaven Travel executive vice-president, his customers had their trips postponed or changed because of the Zika virus. He has even cited a group who planned to have their wedding in Miami and ended up switching back to their original plan of holding it in Jamaica because of a reported Zika outbreak.

In a survey done by Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, it was found that out of the total population of travelers planning to get pregnant, 35 percent said that they have changed or even canceled their trips upon hearing Zika cases in their chosen destination.

To cover for these conditions, many airlines have now provided additional insurance for their passengers, which includes rerouting, rescheduling, or even refunding of tickets to pregnant women who have previously booked their tickets before the destination was declared to have Zika cases.

Canadians have been victims of the travel-related Zika infections, therefore making them more concerned about their health over their long-planned trips. More than 2,000 pregnant women in the U.S. and its territories have been reported to have Zika, which adds up to the worry of Canadians, especially for their usual trips down south.

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