Zika Affecting Business Travel

Is Zika Affecting Business Travel?

By Richard Capuro, August 15, 2016

Zika Affecting Business TravelAthletes deciding not to participate in the Olympic Games due to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil have raised awareness of the issue in the business-travel community. According to the World Health Organization http://www.who.int/features/qa/zika/en/, in addition to Brazil, the virus is presently in over 60 countries, increasing possible exposure for travelers. In February, 2016, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the virus to be a worldwide emergency.

Companies and business travelers are now trying to assemble protective strategies in dealing with this disease.

If travelling to an affected region, what can you do to protect yourself and others?

Zika is spread by mosquitoes. To date, there are no vaccines that exists to prevent the Zika virus. The best way not to contract Zika is to avoid being bit by mosquitoes, so use plenty of insect repellent and try to expose as little flesh as possible. Also, where bright-colored clothing, because mosquitoes are attracted to darker clothing. Zika can also be passed sexually.

For some reason, the mosquitoes that spread the virus mostly bite during daylight hours, so be especially careful during the day. The specific species of mosquito that carries Zika is fond of standing water and poor sanitation — common in poor countries — so be especially careful in these areas.

In addition to the Zika virus, the species of mosquitoes that spread Zika also spreads the dengue and chikungunya viruses. Additionally, Zika can possibly cause Guillain-Barré syndrome.


Symptoms are generally mild and may include fever, joint pain and rash, but are far more serious for pregnant women, due to the possibility of birth defects. The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women do not travel to areas where there are outbreaks.