Zika Virus Are Travelers Worried? | Where is the Zika Virus Found?

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the most well-known mosquito to carry and transmit the Zika Virus.

An interesting result of a survey has surfaced. Conducted by Travel Leaders Group, it was released today involving the Zika Virus and how much of a threat it actually poses to American travelers. Before we get into the actual results, I’m going to come out and say that it hasn’t stopped us from exploring the world. Just a couple of weeks ago we visited Costa Rica, despite the scare of Zika so prevalent throughout Central and South America.

In the survey, over 87.1% of those engaged had heard of Zika. Over 96% of that group made note that the Zika virus played no role in any change of travel activity in 2016. The complete group surveyed totaled 3,431 consumers across the U.S and was conducted between April 4th – 3oth of 2016.

“Clearly, many American travelers are informed about Zika, whether from the news media, the CDC or from the conversations our travel agents are having with them on a daily basis,” noted Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.

“According to the CDC, most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know it, because they won’t have symptoms. Nevertheless, we always make it a priority to inform and advocate for our clients, as their safety is always our top priority. What this consumer survey data indicates to us is that Americans are fairly well-educated on Zika and are moving forward with their travel plans.”

As Chacko notes, you could very well be infected with the Zika virus and have no idea. Since the Zika revelation, it has been touted as a disease that most directly affects pregnant women and has now been officially linked to causing dramatically debilitating birth defects or even death of newborns.

Most individuals infected with the Zika virus will have it extinguished from their bodies within one week, however it’s been recognized that women who are pregnant for some reason hold onto the virus within their bloodstream significantly longer.

At this point in time, we don’t know exactly what percentage the percentage could be higher. Compounded with Zika’s ability to be spread sexually, the mosquitoes aren’t the only thing we need to be worrying about.

Zika Virus Survey Indicates Travelers Aren't Worried About the Virus

One of the most common carriers of Zika, the Aedes aegypti mosquito (pictured above) has white stripes, spots or yellow dots across much of its body.

What Mosquitoes Carry the Zika Virus?

There is one main species of mosquito which is known to be the main carrier of the Zika virus, that’s the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This same mosquito also can carry yellow fever, dengue virus and the chikungunya virus. Some of these older viruses already have vaccines, but Zika does not at the time of this writing.

On a more positive note, a vaccination is in the works and scientists believe they have the answer. The unfortunate part is those efficacy trials likely won’t begin until 2017 and the vaccine won’t be widely distributed until as far away as 2018.

Zika has also been reported to be carried by the Aedes albopictus mosquito (also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito) which can be more common in cooler climates.

Key Findings from the Zika Virus Survey:

  • Heard of Zika: When asked, “Have you heard of Zika?” 87.1% of survey respondents said “Yes.”
    • Know What Zika Is: Of those individuals, when asked “Do you know what Zika is?” 97.4% stated “Yes, I know what Zika is” and 2.3% indicated “Maybe.”
  • Zika Impact on Travel Plans: Nearly all travelers surveyed said that the Zika virus has not impacted their travel plans.

No, not at all

96.1%

Yes, I altered my travel plans – new destination

 2.4%

Yes, I delayed a trip

0.9%

Yes, I canceled a trip

0.6%

  • Travel to Countries with Zika Virus:
    • Interestingly, when asked, “Have you traveled to a country with confirmed cases of Zika this year?” only 21.2% of those surveyed said “Yes.”
    • As for future travel plans and whether or not individuals participating in the survey will travel to a country with confirmed cases of Zika this year, the responses were:

Yes

23.2%

No

30.9%

No, but I had no intention of going to those countries anyway

 29.3%

I don’t know

16.6%

A short time before the April 2016 survey was conducted on traveler fears related to Zika, Travel Leaders Group also conducted another special survey with the travel agents it works with.  In February 2016, they had this to say:

  • Travelers in their 20’s and 30’s: 74.1% of travel agents stated “none” of their clients in their 20’s and 30’s were cancelling (and not re-booking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus.
  • Travelers in their 40’s and 50’s: As for clients in their 40’s and 50’s, 89.8% of travel agents stated “none” were cancelling (and not re-booking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus.
  • Travelers 60 and Older: The percentage for clients 60 years or older was even higher. According to that survey data, 93.0% stated “none” of their clients in that age range were cancelling (and not re-booking) their travel plans due to the Zika virus.

Zika Virus Survey conducted by the Travel Leaders Group. Additional sources include the New York Times, USAToday and NBC News.

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