Travellers and expecting couples have taken to social media to express concerns about visiting countries potentially affected by Zika after the World Health Organization warned the virus is likely to spread to most of the Americas.
The outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus comes as a record percentage of Americans plan a vacation in the next six months and a near-record proportion of them look to travel abroad with a strong US dollar making overseas destinations more affordable.
One Twitter user, Tito (@FaustoRivera5) said the virus had affected his travel plans to Costa Rica."Damn u Zika virus. Messed up my trip to Costa Rica," he tweeted.
Damn u Zika virus. Messed up my trip to Costa Rica— Tito (@FaustoRivera5) January 26, 2016
Canada and Chile are the only countries in the Americas the virus is not expected to reach, the WHO said on Monday.
Several Twitter users lamented their ruined vacations and their inability to get a refund from tourism operators.
The Zika virus has officially ruined my traveling plans for the summer. Sigh.— m (@MenkTheDon) January 27, 2016
Had to cancel our holiday to Barbados next week due to risk of Zika virus to our unborn child. Shame @VirginHolidays wont refund a penny.— Stu Privett (@stuprivett) January 24, 2016
So I had to cancel a cruise on @CarnivalCruise due to the Zika Virus and an expecting wife. Yet they stubbornly stick to refund policy.— Jeff W (@semperjeff) January 23, 2016
Stu Privett, an HR systems specialist for the Royal College of Nursing in London, tweeted he had to cancel his upcoming trip to Barbados.He planned to take the trip with his wife, who is in her first trimester, and said he was unable to get a refund for the trip from Virgin Holidays.
"They basically said it was our choice not to go on the holiday," Privett told Reuters.
Another Twitter user, Mitch Svor (@AzSvor), wrote to American Airlines about a possible refund for a planned trip to a Zika-affected country:
"@AmericanAir My wife is pregnant and we are advised by doctor not to fly to areas with the Zika Virus. Will you be able to refund our fare?"
@AmericanAir My wife is pregnant and we are advised by doctor not to fly to areas with the Zika Virus.Will you be able to refund our fare?— Mitch Svor (@AzSvor) January 26, 2016
American Airlines replied: "We're currently refunding tickets for flights to SAL/SAP/TGU/PTY/GUA. If that's your destination, please DM for further details."