Parts of Latin and South America are in the middle of an outbreak of the Zika Virus that’s spread by mosquito bites.
The virus is particularly dangerous for pregnant women whose fetuses are susceptible to a condition called microcephaly.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, microcephaly is a birth defect in which a baby’s head and brain are smaller and less-developed than others of the same age.
At the moment, there are no vaccines to prevent, and no medicines to treat the Zika virus.
Thus far, 24 countries worldwide — including Mexico and Brazil — have reported active transmissions of the Zika virus.
Now airlines are reacting to the outbreak by offering passengers with tickets to infected regions the opportunity to change their plans, free of charge.
Here’s what a few of the world’s largest airlines are doing in reaction to the outbreak.
American Airlines’ policy will allow a customer to receive a refund if they provide a doctor’s note stating that they are unable to travel to affected countries or territories due to their pregnancy.
Affected countries include Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
“We are also closely monitoring the situation, and will make changes to our current policy if necessary,” American told Business Insider in an email.
Delta Air Lines:
In response to the Zika outbreak, Delta issued the following travel advisory:
Customers with current reservations who are concerned about travelling to destinations reported by the CDC to be affected by Zika Viral Illness should call 1-800-221-1212 (U.S.) or your local Reservations office and speak with a Delta Representative.
Customers may qualify for a change to alternate destinations, travel dates or a refund. Customers may make fee-waived changes to future reservations/tickets. However, changes need to be made by February 29, 2016.
United Airlines has not issued an advisory for the affected areas, but the airline will offer refunds to customers who are pregnant, who no longer wish to travel.
Pregnant women with tickets to affected areas can receive refunds,” An United spokesperson told Business Insider via email. “Rather than issuing an advisory, we ask customers to reach out to us directly.”
In response to the outbreak, Air France has issued to following statement to Business Insider:
Air France confirms that the Zika virus has had no impact on its flight operations and service to the destinations concerned. The Company continues to closely monitor the situation, and is in direct contact with the French and international health authorities (French Health Ministry, WHO, CDC, ECDC, IATA, etc.).
Announcements are made on board flights to the regions affected by the virus to inform customers about the precautionary measures to observe. Flight crews have also been informed about these same measures.
“If a pregnant customer is due to travel up to and including February 29, but they no longer wish to travel,” British Airways said in an email to Business Insider. “They can change their booking free of charge and delay their journey or amend to an alternative destination.”
“This applies to flights to Brazil, Mexico, Barbados and Dominican Republic, and we will continue to review the situation.”
Here are all the countries affected by Zika virus outbreak:
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