Zika Virus Outbreak Prompts Couples to Cancel ‘Babymoons’

While the Zika virus is a major concern for parents in countries where the outbreak is spreading, couples in the U.S. are also re-routing travel plans or canceling “babymoons” after the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention issued a stark travel advisory for pregnant women earlier this month.

The CDC urged pregnant women to “consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing,” and the agency also urged women who are considering getting pregnant to take precautions against getting bitten by mosquitoes.

The 24 countries and territories included in the travel advisory are: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde and Samoa.

The virus is associated with a rare but dangerous birth defect called microcephaly that is characterized by an abnormally small head and brain, which can lead to developmental delays.

The growing concern over the Zika virus outbreak comes as many travelers in the U.S. plan trips to warmer locales for babymoons or for spring break.

Alyze Belluci, 30, said she had planned a final trip to Mexico before the birth of her second child when she heard the news about the Zika virus.

“Our first son is almost 5 and we wanted to do a trip to Mexico,” Belluci, of Glendale, California, told ABC News. “We’ve been there before. [My husband] and I just wanted a romantic babymoon.”

When they first heard the news that the virus was in Mexico, Belluci and her husband debated if they could still go to Cancun and take precautions.

“No one gave a concrete ‘don’t go,’ but ultimately we decided it’s not worth the risk,” Belluci told ABC News. “As a naturally anxious person, I don’t know if I would enjoy myself if I was going to be nervous.”

The couple now plans to spend their time off in Arizona.

“We might do Scottsdale. It’s nice and dry there,” said Belluci, who is due in early July. “There’s no beach but it’s still a nice location.”

In North Carolina, Mollie Green said she was disappointed to cancel her vacation with her husband to Jamaica. The trip had already been planned for their 10th wedding anniversary, but became a babymoon when Green discovered she was pregnant last year.

Green said when she first saw news about Zika virus, she was concerned even though at that point there had not been a case reported in the Caribbean.

“I just instantly had a bad feeling about it,” Green said. “We started researching it. My doctor thought it was ok. It wasn’t on the CDC list yet.”

However, reports of the virus’ spread worried Green and multiple countries in the Caribbean have now been added to the CDC’s travel advisory list. Though Jamaica is not one of them and has not had a reported case, the country did ask women to delay pregnancy until the virus is more understood, according to the Associated Press.

Eventually, Green said she and her husband decided to cancel their trip.

“It wasn’t worth the risk,” she told ABC News. “We got a letter from my doctor and American Airlines. They are making it possible to change the ticket to a U.S. destination without the change fee.”

Green said she and her husband are now planning on a trip to Las Vegas for their 10th anniversary and are hoping to use their deposit at the Jamaica resort for a future trip after the baby is born.

“I felt a thousand times better since,” she said. “It’s not just the risk of the virus and the birth defect, it’s also the anxiety that it places on the pregnant mom.”

“Who would enjoy the trip anyway?” she said of traveling under a cloud of uncertainty.

Read More at ABC News

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