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Zika Virus Update

Last updated: 05 February 2016

About the Zika virus 

Zika is an illness caused by the Zika virus. The virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. This is the same mosquito that can spread other illnesses, such as dengue.

What Zika means for travellers, generally

Of those people infected with the Zika virus, about one in five experiences symptoms. Common symptoms include: fever, a skin rash, muscle or joint pain, headaches, malaise and conjunctivitis (inflamed, red eyes). The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting from a couple of days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalisation is uncommon. About 80% of people infected will bear no symptoms at all.

Those women who are not carrying a pregnancy or planning one and all men can choose to travel wherever they wish. All travellers are encouraged to take standard steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Such steps include wearing loose, light-coloured clothes and covering as much skin as possible, with long sleeves, long trousers, socks and closed shoes. Insect repellent is strongly advised, too. Take particular care at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. If you are susceptible to common infections, consult your doctor before travelling to an affected region. 

What Zika means for women and pregnancy 

Women who are currently pregnant or planning a pregnancy are advised to select their travel destinations carefully. Maternal-to-foetal transmission of the Zika virus may occur at any stage of pregnancy. A possible association has been made between a mother’s exposure to the virus and her infant developing microcephaly (a neurological condition in which an infant's head is significantly smaller than the heads of his or her peers). 

How Trafalgar is responding 

Trafalgar remains connected to our passion for travel. The well-being of all of our guests and team members is always our top priority. There are currently no changes to any of our itineraries. We are monitoring the situation and are guided throughout by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because our guests stay in first class, air-conditioned hotels and travel in air-conditioned coaches, the risk of encountering mosquitoes is lowered considerably. 

Furthermore, while Aedes mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, our hotels are in urban areas where such mosquitoes are very rare.

Trafalgar guests on trips to affected countries will be given insect repellents. We strongly encourage guests to carry a personal supply, however, particularly if you prefer particular brands or have skin sensitivities. 

Trafalgar will allow any woman who is pregnant prior to her intended trip to an affected destination in 2016 and who wishes to cancel it, the opportunity to change to any other Trafalgar trip or offer a full refund for her and her travel companion(s). A doctor’s letter confirming the pregnancy will be needed to process the request. Many airlines will refund pregnant women travelling to affected areas, too. Please contact your air carrier for more information.

Guests due to travel to destinations as listed below can amend their booking to an alternative trip operated by Trafalgar. 

As a matter of course, we recommend to all guests to purchase insurance (containing cancellation coverage) at the time of booking. Should you need to cancel a booking, for whatever reason, you will be credited the price of the trip.

Trafalgar country destinations affected

Trafalgar operates in the following countries where the Zika virus has been reported. 

Brazil: Manaus in the Amazon, Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Falls are affected by this virus. 

Costa Rica: Because Costa Rica has a warm, humid climate, mosquitoes are found there. As of early February, only two cases of the virus were reported in the country, from travellers returning from other affected regions.   

Ecuador: Although certain parts of Ecuador have been affected, most of our travel is to the highlands where mosquitoes are not found. 

Mexico: Although certain parts of Mexico have been affected, Trafalgar does not visit them.  

Panama: The north-east area of Guna Yala has been affected, but Trafalgar does not visit there. 

Further advice and information

Keep yourself updated by consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and visit its Q&As.  The CDC is providing relevant travel advice here, plus updates on countries affected here

Consult the World Health Organization’s fact sheet on Zika.