Zika Virus Prompts United, American to Offer Travel Refunds

Photo by Freeimages.com/Pavel Nahly

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that two major U.S. airlines are offering refunds to passengers worried about the Zika virus outbreak in many tropical countries. 

United Airlines says customers booked to fly to areas affected by the virus can reschedule or get refunds. American Airlines says it will give refunds to pregnant women who were planning to travel to parts of Central America.

In early January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning following the first reported case of Zika virus in Puerto Rico.

The outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus began in Brazil last May, followed by outbreaks in several Central and South American countries, according to the CDC warning.

The New York Times then reported on the first case of brain damage linked to the Zika virus in the United States, which took place in in Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Department of Health said that a baby born in an Oahu hospital with microcephaly — an unusually small head and brain — had been infected with the Zika virus, which is believed to have caused the same damage in thousands of babies in Brazil in recent months, according to the New York Times report. 

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