- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Travel agents say some Minnesotans are rescheduling their winter trips to warm weather destinations because of concerns about an outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The agents on Friday said they warned customers heading to affected areas, the Star Tribune reported (https://strib.mn/23C3YQg).

The Zika virus has been spreading since being detected in Brazil last year and has been found mostly in Latin American and the Caribbean. In most people the virus causes only a mild illness, but Brazilian officials have linked the illness to babies born with small or deformed heads.

“It’s something that everyone needs to be aware of,” said Lenore Miller, owner of Minnetonka Travel and Cruises.

Miller said she would advise any pregnant clients not to travel to affected areas.

“We want to make sure they’re informed,” she said.

Owner Bonnie Lee said her agency, Travel Leaders in Albertville, specializes in booking destination weddings, which tend to involve younger people. Lee said she recently canceled trips for about six travelers, including couples, because one partner was in the early stages of pregnancy.

Some trips were canceled just days before they were to begin, but Lee said she got vouchers for the travelers. While most of those who cancel are not immediately booking new trips, Lee said one couple changed their destination from the Dominican Republic to Nassau in the Bahamas.

Owner Craig Beal of Travel Beyond in Wayzata - which operates tours mostly to India, Africa, Australia and Patagonia - said one traveler canceled a trip to Costa Rica on Friday.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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