Zika Virus A Growing Concern For Overseas Travelers

(CBS) — It’s a virus with a strange name that has people around the world scared. It’s called the Zika virus and hits pregnant women the hardest.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey talked to a Chicago travel agent whose phones are ringing off the hook.

In the midst of the season when people want to get out of Chicago, a mosquito transmitted virus is now causing people to rethink their spring vacations.

“People are definitely calling,” said travel agent Kendra Thornton of www.royal-travel.com. “We have some pregnant clients that are interested in maybe rescheduling their vacation.”

The Zika virus has popped up in Mexico, South America and other warm destinations. The Centers for Disease Control say pregnant women are most at risk.

“Other people can be affected but again, it’s the transmission to baby that we’re concerned about,” said Dr. Jessica Shepherd of the University of Illinois Chicago.

Symptoms are fever, muscle ache, a whole body rash and pink eye. Anyone can contract the virus but it can cause developmental issues with unborn babies.

“Microcephaly, which is abnormally small head and also an incomplete development of the brain,” said Dr. Shepherd.

Thornton says, “In some cases are people are canceling and just opting to travel later.”

And for pregnant women looking to change their trips now and they don’t have travel insurance, that could mean losing money on a dream vacation.

“Penalties for canceling or rescheduling a trip really gets steep after the 30 day prior to departure mark,” Thornton said. “In most cases you’ll probably have some rebooking penalty fees that you’ll have to adhere to but in most cases, of course you’ll be able to reschedule you just might have to pay to do it.

Talk about travel dates in you’re traveling in a few weeks and that you can still buy travel insurance 10 percent of the total cost of the trip.

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