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Why CFAR Coverage is Vitally Important in Wake of Zika Virus Outbreaks

Travel Team | May 17, 2016

Zika virus test.

UPDATE: May 17, 2016

Who Should Be Worried About Zika And What Should You Do (NPR)

For the past several months we have been keeping tabs on Zika. As travel season has arrived, we find this update from NPR. Scientists and other experts have confirmed Zika is coming to the continental United States. The highest risk areas seem to be Florida, Texas and Mexico.

Risk Areas Are Defined

  • Extreme Low-Risk: People traveling and living in the northern half of the United States are at the lowest risk of contracting Zika because the Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito which carries the virus does live that far north. Research have defined this area from northern New England across the north Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.
  • Extreme High-Risk: Florida, across the Gulf states, into Texas and Mexico have high concentrations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. And researchers have found this mosquito follows another related virus. "Zika will go where dengue has been, to some extent," says, Dr. Karin Nielsen, a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles. "I think pregnant women should stay away from areas that have had dengue outbreaks in the continental U.S.," which includes the Florida Keys, Houston and the border of Texas and Mexico.

Precautions Women and Men Should Take this Summer

  • Doctors are advising pregnant women to steer clear of the highest risk areas this year during the travel season. Additionally, health officials are recommending pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant wear long sleeves, long pants and durable bug repellant.
  • For men, health officials are warning Zika can be transmitted sexually, and they should take precautions too.  These include avoiding the areas of highest risk, wearing pants, shirts with long sleeves, and using durable bug repellant.
  • Unlike other mosquitos, research say Aedes aegypti is more active during daylight hours and likes to enter peoples' home.

UPDATE: April 27, 2016

NCAR map Zika's potential spread in the U.S.

The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is this travel season’s public enemy number one for the Centers for Disease Control. It is the main carrier of the Zika virus that has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect. Writing for NBC News, Maggie Fox, reports that experts are saying, “the explosion of cases of birth defects caused by Zika virus may be the ‘tip of the iceberg.’” According to the World Health Organization, Zika is an epidemic of global proportion, reports CNN.

While you might have read — and we have reported here — Zika was first identified in South America. The National Center for Atmospheric Research released data to suggest the Aedes aegypti mosquito lives as far north as the southeastern United States. NCAR has released maps showing where their research detects the highest concentration of the mosquito this summer.

Pregnant women should pay special attention and avoid getting pregnant in areas where the Aedes aegypti mosquito lives. While it is possible for Zika to be transmitted from the mosquito to human, scientists have also reported it can be transmitted through bodily fluids such as semen.

To view the latest Centers for Disease Control maps tracking the Aedes aegypti mosquito, click here.

Of course, we encourage you to travel safely this simmer, even if you’re traveling domestically. Not all travel cancellation insurance plans will let you cancel for any reason, but ours well. Check out our CFAR travel insurance before you decide to travel this summer. 

UPDATE: April 12, 2016

Zika Threat Posed to the United States Greater Than Expected

News sources are reporting CDC officials have warned Zika may be a bigger threat to the continental U.S. this summer. Writing for HuffPo, Timothy Gardner and Jeff Mason report, “At a White House briefing, [top health officials] stepped up pressure on the Republican-led Congress to pass approximately $1.9 billion in emergency funding for Zika preparedness that the Obama administration requested in February.”

Some highlights of the new threat include:

  • Mosquitoes known to carry the Zika virus have been found in 30 states in the United States, and the risk is projected to be higher in Puerto Rico.
  • Zika is linked to numerous cases of the birth defect microcephaly in Brazil.
  • In the absence of the emergency funds the White House will redirect $589 million from Ebola research to fund Zika vaccine research.
  • Stopgap funding of this sort will crimp other important work on malaria, tuberculosis and a universal flu vaccine.

As you make travel plans this summer, be vigilant about prevent mosquito bites. Pregnant women, in particular, should think twice before traveling to locations where Zika may be contracted. If you are planning to become pregnant, you should consider buying CFAR travel insurance in case you need to cancel your trip. 

Summary of original article:

When The White House, Center for Disease Control (CDC), World health Organization (WHO), and many other reputable sources share information regarding serious diseases or illnesses, people pay attention. The mosquito-borne Zika Virus is spreading, and experts warn that the United States might be the next affected area. 

Chances are, you're already aware of the Zika Virus and understand the potential risks associated with contracting the disease. Due the serious nature of this virus, women all over the world who are pregnant or want to get pregnant are being urged not to travel to areas of the world where cases have been reported.


Affected areas as of February 1, 2016:

Areas affected with the Zika virus, via the CDC.
(Image source: CDC)

Why is the Zika virus so dangerous?

As it turns out, the Zika Virus has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil. Countries such as El Salvador have advised women to delay pregnancies until 2018. If the experts are accurate and the disease continues to spread north, the same recommendation might be made to women residing in the United States, as well.

Scientists are still determining how the disease is being transmitted, aside from the obvious mosquito bite. If a woman is pregnant, the Zika virus can be transmitted to the baby in utero. Additionally,and quite possibly even more frightening, the disease can be sexually transmitted. 

More information about the Zika virus from the World Health Organization

Click play below to watch this short, three minute Q&A video produced by WHO:

The increased risk of traveling

We’ll give it to you short and sweet: if you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or fall into the category where you might “accidentally” get pregnant, avoid travel to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Simple as that.

This may sound crazy, but if you've already booked a trip to ones of those areas, and you’re hell-bent on going, take a pregnancy test before you leave to make sure you’re not pregnant. If you are, don’t go. If you aren’t pregnant, don’t have sex on your trip. Practice abstinence for a couple days… It’s just not worth the risk!

If you travel, use DEET

DEET is a substance commonly found in insect repellents. Experts suggest applying DEET heavily to all areas of exposed skin at all times, whether you're planning to stay indoors of heading outside. Prior to departing on your adventure, head to your local Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, etc. and buy multiple cans of heavy-duty insect repellent (with DEET) that specifically repels mosquitoes.

You won’t be able to carry on aerosol cans, so be sure to pack in a checked bag. You don’t want to land [in an affected area] and have to scour through town trying to find mosquito repellent …

Updated news alert from World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO announces a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

WHO announced today that the recent cluster of neurological disorders and neonatal malformations reported in the Americas region constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This comes after the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee agreed that a causal link between this cluster and Zika virus disease is strongly suspected. It constitutes an “extraordinary event” and a public health threat to other parts of the world…

Read the full story here →

CFAR (Cancel for any Reason) is an absolute must when planning travel

If contracting the Zika virus scares you, you’re certainly not alone, especially if you’re in the phase of life when you could get pregnant. We strongly encourage travelers to invest in travel insurance when planning trips. This is especially important if you’re venturing to an area with reported cases of the Zika virus.

Those of us who have been blessed with the ability to propagate the species need to be on high alert. Microcephaly, also known as babies born with underdeveloped brains, is nothing to mess around with. And, as previously stated, with thousands of cases of microcephaly being reporting in Brazil ALONE, the risk of traveling in affected areas is very real.

Be advised that a travel insurance policy alone may not cover you. We preach about “protection while traveling” but truthfully, because of the nature of the disease, the “protection” you need may not come in the form of an insurance policy …

When you’re purchasing travel insurance, whether it’s through Seven Corners or elsewhere, you need to select the CFAR (Cancel for any Reason)option to ensure you are covered if you want to cancel our trip because you have a fear of traveling there due to the Zika virus.

Who should be buying a trip cancellation plan with CFAR?

Because CFAR is an add-on to a trip cancellation plan, it’s not for everyone. It does increase the price of the plan between 35-45%, but it’s worth the investment to get back 75% of your trip cost, simply for canceling for no reason. Well, there is a reason… And if you happen to get pregnant before the trip, canceling to avoid the Zika virus is smart.

Here’s some quick, easy math to explain how CFAR works for a 30-year old couple buying the Seven Corners RoundTrip Elite plan for an 8-day trip:

  • Your (the primary) trip cost: $1,000
  • Your spouse's trip cost: $1,000
  • Travel insurance plan cost (without adding CFAR): $96
  • Add Cancel For Any Reason coverage: $134
  • Total trip cost including travel insurance + CFAR: $2,134
  • Amount you will be refunded should you use CFAR: $1,500

With CFAR, you're not reimbursed for the full cost of your trip, but you at least have the option to cancel the trip (altogether) for any reason.

Better than being out the entire $2,000, right? 

Also, make sure you understand the time limit for cancelling your trip. There is normally a restriction on how late you cancel your trip (for example, 48 hours before your departure date). 

How to get a quote with CFAR from Seven Corners

Our RoundTrip Elite plan has the option to include CFAR.

To receive a quick quote, simply navigate to our trip protection page by clicking the button below. Once there, you’ll be asked to provide a few details about your trip, such as:

  • Trip start and end date
  • State of residence
  • Traveler information including age and trip cost

Once that information is entered, we’ll give you a quote on our travel insurance plans. Choose RoundTrip Elite and from there, select the Cancel for any Reason option. Your quote will increase, but don’t be alarmed! That increase could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you cancel your trip.

Start your quote today with Seven Corners.

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