Airlines re-assigning pregnant crew from Zika-prone routes

Airlines re-assigning pregnant crew from Zika-prone routes
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Airlines are offering to re-assign pregnant crew members from flights to areas in the Caribbean and Latin America that have been affected by the Zika virus, Reuters reports

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel alert for pregnant women who are visiting areas that are prone to the Zika virus, which the agency has said is typically carried by mosquitos in tropical climates and can be spread to children during birth.   

Two of the largest U.S. airlines — United and American — and German carrier Lufthansa have responded to the warnings by allowing pregnant crew members who are concerned about being exposed to the virus to be re-assigned to other flights, according to the report. 

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The union that represents flight attendants told the news service that airlines should be praised for allowing pregnant employees to skip flights to Zika-prone areas. 

"We have immediate concern about our members' health," Association of Flight Attendants-CWA President Sara Nelson said, according to the report. 

"This issue is changing at a fairly rapid pace, (and) it's important that those updates are ongoing," she continued. 

The CDC has said "there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. 

"Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites," the agency said in its recent travel warning. 

It added that "no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.

"Locally transmitted Zika virus has been reported in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico," the agency said. "With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase." 

Several airlines have begun offering refunds for flights to areas in the Caribbean and Latin America that have been affected by the virus.