TI faces growing concern over Zika virus

Kathmandu- Travel industry professionals in different parts of the world are worried over effects of Zika virus that might have negative impacts on tourism industry around the world.

Airlines, hotels and cruise operators serving Latin America and the Caribbean are facing growing concern among travelers spooked by the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

World Health Organization is planning to convene an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on 1 February in Geneva keeping in view increase in neurological disorders and neonatal malformations.

Brazil reported its first case of Zika virus disease in May 2015. Since then, the disease has spread within Brazil and to 22 other countries and territories in the region.

“Arrival of the virus in some countries of the Americas, notably Brazil, has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads and in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a poorly understood condition in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis,” WHO said in a statement.

A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth defects and neurological syndromes has not been established, but is strongly suspected.WHO will also prioritize the development of vaccines and new tools to control mosquito populations, as well as improving diagnostic tests.

The outbreak of the virus, linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil, comes as a record percentage of Americans plans a vacation in coming months and a near-record proportion of them look to take advantage of a strong U.S. dollar by going abroad.

Canada and Chile are the only countries in the Americas the virus is not expected to reach, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.