Caption:SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - JULY 01: A couple walks on the beach on July 1, 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The island's residents are dealing with increasing economic hardships and a financial crisis that has resulted in the government's $72 billion debt. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said in a speech recently that the people will have to sacrifice and share in the responsibilities for pulling the island out of debt. Consumer tax on certain items has risen to 11.5 percent. (Photo : Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Planning a vacation in the Caribbean? You might want to reconsider.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning on Friday regarding the mosquito-borne Zika virus reported to infect unborn babies brain damage. While this most-recent health scare has been the concern of pregnant and planning-to-get-pregnant women, tourism in Latin American countries, particularly the Caribbean's babymoon business, share the same distress.
Federal health officials, as reported by The New York Times, advised pregnant women to defer travel and vacation to 13 Latin American countries, which include Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela, as well as Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are identified to be spreading the Zika virus that cause Microcephaly in babies - a form of brain damage. Today noted that CDC officials upgraded the travel warning to Level 2 late afternoon last Friday. All travellers who will be visiting Latin America and the Caribbean were cautioned against mosquito bites in order to avoid contracting the Zika virus.
"We believe this is a fairly serious problem," Chief of vector-borne diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Lyle R. Petersen stated, as per The New York Times. "This virus is spreading throughout the Americas. We didn't feel we could wait," he explained.
Petersen furthered that the CDC advisory applies to all fourteen countries "unless there is specific evidence the virus is not occurring somewhere."
The federal health warning has taken the expected effect on the Latin American babymoon industry. President of Cruise and World Travel -- a popular babymoon booking company -- Nancy Yale shared that one of their clients, a couple who are supposedly booked for a February Caribbean babymoon trip, decided to cancel and will instead spend their five-day vacation in Florida. "We're also checking with travel insurance companies to see if a CDC travel alert about the virus would be a covered reason for cancellation," Yale said.
Meanwhile, 29-year-old Jaclyn Rutigliano and her husband are indeed concerned about the health advisory on the Zika virus but not enough to cancel their babymoon on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia in two weeks. "My husband spooks more easily than I do with these things," shared Rutigliano. "But until news hits that shows our destination is specifically impacted, I believe he'll continue to proceed with caution," she adds, as per the same report.