In January 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Zika virus travel health advisory for the Caribbean, Central and South America in response to the virus outbreak. The virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and while the associated illness is usually mild and self-limiting, a higher incidence of birth defects such as microcephaly from infections during pregnancy has been established. There is also a suspected link to a serious neurological condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The active transmission of Zika virus in many locations where our ships operate and where employees live became a major topic of concern. In response to the outbreak, we immediately introduced prevention measures including provision of health advice to passengers, crew, medical staff and shore based employees. We also ensured provision of appropriate insect repellents on board and during shore excursions, and the application of mosquito prevention strategies both on board and in our ports.
Details of these steps were shared with the Cruise Lines International Association and subsequently broadly adopted across the industry. The guidance was updated as the outbreak situation evolved, and by the end of 2016 there were no significant health impacts reported on our ships and the ports we own and operate.