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Cruise lines allow pregnant women to reschedule trips to Zika-affected areas

Cruise lines allow pregnant women to reschedule trips to Zika-affected areas
Municipal workers sprays insecticide to combat the mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus in Recife, Brazil. (Felipe Dana / Associated Press)

Carnival, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian cruise lines are allowing pregnant women to reschedule their journeys if they had booked a cruise to a destination where a Zika virus health warning is in effect.

"Royal Caribbean will assist any pregnant women who do not feel comfortable sailing to countries affected with the Zika virus by providing alternate itinerary options," a statement says.

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Passengers also may receive a cruise credit good for two years. This applies to Celebrity as well.

Norwegian and Carnival also said they would allow expectant mothers "covered by CDC advisories" to delay their cruise or travel to a different destination, Reuters reported. That applies to all Carnival brands, including Princess, Holland America and Cunard.

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Cruise lines also are providing their passengers with information about the Zika virus before their trip.

Two airlines -- United and American -- on Tuesday announced they would allow pregnant women to change their travel plans to areas affected by the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes. It causes brain damage, a condition called microcephaly, in babies born to mothers who were bitten when they were pregnant.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control first issued a travel warning to pregnant women Jan. 15. Now it warns that they may be at risk in 22 countries, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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The agency has issued a Level 2 travel warning, meaning pregnant women should take measures to avoid mosquito bites. Insect repellents, particularly those containing DEET, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants can help.

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