The Latest on the Zika Virus

national park sign

We’ve been getting a ton of emails and messages over on our Facebook page asking us our thoughts on the Zika virus. For those of you unfamiliar with Zika, it’s a virus spread person to person by mosquitos. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. It usually only lasts from a few days to a week.

So far, I know no one who has come down with the Zika virus on St. John. There was, however, one confirmed case on St. Croix, so it is relatively close.

The real issue surrounding the Zika virus pertains to pregnant women or women who plan on getting pregnant. The super scary part about the Zika virus is that it’s been linked to microcephaly, a condition where newborns are born with shrunken heads and severe disability. Please know that there have not been any confirmed cases of microcephaly due to the Zika virus the Virgin Islands. But it is something to be cognizant of.

(Click here to a fact sheet on pregnant women and the Zika virus on the CDC’s website.)

So what should you do? It’s pretty simple – wear bug spray.

In my opinion, this virus is no reason to cancel your trip to St. John. Again, we’ve had no confirmed cases. But if you are pregnant and are concerned, several airlines are offering refunds or the ability to postpone trips. Here are the details we found:

Delta: Customers with current reservations who are concerned about travelling to destinations reported by the CDC to be affected by Zika Viral Illness should call 1-800-221-1212 (U.S.) or your local Reservations office and speak with a Delta Representative. Customers may qualify for a change to alternate destinations, travel dates or a refund. Customers may make fee-waived changes to future reservations/tickets. However, changes need to be made by February 29, 2016.

American: If you are pregnant and scheduled to travel to a destination outside the U.S. that is affected by Zika virus, you and your travel companions can request a refund. To qualify, you must provide a doctor’s note confirming your pregnancy and stating your inability to travel due to Zika virus.

JetBlue: Will give refund or will allow customers to rebook. We are not certain if this is for everyone or solely for pregnant women.

United: Customers can postpone their trip or get a full refund. We are not certain if this is for everyone or solely for pregnant women..

Spirit: Will refund or rebook customers who are pregnant or traveling with a pregnant woman to the affected regions.

3 thoughts on “The Latest on the Zika Virus”

  1. It has also been speculated that the virus can be passed by sex. Some sources indicate this as a fact. I know of a number of people Stateside that have already cancelled their cruise, airline tickets, etc., to PR and the VI and other Caribbean destinations because of the zika problem and out of an abundance of caution. Travel agents are dealing with many cancellations. While the V.I. Government may be claiming to meeting the problem head-on, sending new recruits door to door to “spray” you, I have seen nothing indicating any acknowledgment of the issue of the potential for massive lost revenues due to tourism decline. Similar, somewhat, to the “opening” of Cuba, this is an issue that may greatly impact the VI economy. It’s a new day, and the “leaders” are ill equipped to deal with it.

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