An epidemic which broke out in Brazil in early May 2015 is spreading so fast, like wildfire, as recent reports have shown that over 45 countries worldwide have been affected so far by the Zika virus.
Many travelers who would have loved to migrate to certain regions of warmer climates in Latin America on a good day, so as to escape the winter are beginning to have a rethink due to some health concerns over the uncontainable spread of Zika virus.
What is Zika Virus?
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that causes a mild illness in most people, while displaying certain symptoms such as joint pain, fever, red eyes and rash. It was named after the Ugandan Zika Forest where it was firstly discovered in 1947. Mosquitoes of the Aedes species are responsible for the spread of this virus; these are the same mosquitoes that are responsible for the spread of chikungunya and dengue fever.
Symptoms of Zika Virus
Medical scientists have revealed that the tendency of experiencing Zika symptoms is at a ratio of 5:1 For example: from every five persons infected with Zika, only one person will actually experience real Zika symptoms. Some of these symptoms include conjunctivitis (red eyes), joint pain, mild fever, diarrhea, rash, muscle pain, and headache. However, this illness rarely requires hospitalization as it typically goes away within the space of one week.
How is it transmitted?
A group of aggressive daytime biters, known as Aedes mosquitoes, is the main spreader of the Zika virus. As a result, it is disastrous for cruise ship passengers to engage in their activities as ports touring are usually done during the day. Although recent reports have shown that the virus can be easily contacted through blood transfusion, only in rare conditions can the virus be passed on from mother to fetus during childbirth and pregnancy. One of the most recent reports has revealed that the virus can even be transmitted through sexual contact.
Who is most susceptible?
The Zika infection may not seem to be particularly serious for most people, however, most pregnant women are at a high risk of catching the virus. Yt has been revealed to be associated with congenital birth defects such as microcephaly i.e. fetal brain damage. To this end, every pregnant woman or any woman who is trying to become pregnant should avoid traveling to any region that could be affected by Zika.
What cruise lines are doing to curb the situation
Carnival Corp, an association of cruise lines that comprises of Holland America, Carnival, Princess, Costa, and Cunard is helping to disseminate vital information to passengers who have booked on cruises to affected areas about the prevalence of Zika virus.
Future cruise credits are provided for pregnant women who require to cancel their cruises so they can rebook at a later time. This also includes their traveling companions. Passengers for the Norwegian Cruise have been provided with non-penalty options to select a different itinerary before final payment.