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Zika virus forces new travel recommendations

​New travel recommendations from state health officials were released on Tuesday following the continued spread of the Zika virus.

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​New travel recommendations from state health officials were released on Tuesday following the continued spread of the Zika virus.

The Zika virus, a rare tropical disease that has spread in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a mild illness, but it is now suspected in an unusual birth defect, and possibly other health issues.

The virus is transmitted through bites from the same kind of mosquitos that can spread other tropical diseases, like dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever.

It is not known to spread from person-to-person, but investigators are exploring the possibility that the virus can be passed on through sex.

Health officials in Texas on Tuesday said a patient acquired the disease through sexual transmission.

There have been no cases of the Zika virus in North Carolina, but some travelers are taking extra precaution to avoid any means where they could be infected.

Pregnant women face the greatest risk of catching the virus, according to the CDC.

They can pass the virus to their unborn babies, which may result in serious birth defects. The CDC is recommending all pregnant women postpone travel to any area with active Zika transmission.

Travel agent Lauren Doyle said she’s had about three cancelations since the beginning of the year.

Doyle said some of her pregnant clients decided to still travel, but she suggests contacting a medical professional first.

“Reach out to your primary care doctors and see what they say,” she said.

Some airlines are offering free cancelations and bookings, but Doyle says some other travel vendors are requiring proof for refunds.

Bride-to-be Kathleen Everheart said she and her future husband decided to skip a Caribbean honeymoon this summer after learning of the outbreak.

Everheart said they will vacation domestically after their wedding instead.

“He and I are just starting out lives off together and this new chapter of our life,” Everheart said. “Kids are definitely a part of that and we’re just thinking of any residual effects that vacationing out of the country could have on that.”

Doctors say if a women becomes pregnant while in a Zika infected area, or shortly after, she’ll face months of testing and ultrasounds.

Everheart said she and her husband will end up back in Disney World for her honeymoon, and she’s perfectly fine with that.

“We’re definitely going to enjoy our honeymoon no matter what,” she said.


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