by Loren G. Edelstein | February 03, 2016

The American Hotel & Lodging Association today released the following statement via email regarding the Zika virus, offering updated facts and resources intended for hospitality industry employees and guests.

With the World Health Organization announcing this week that the Zika virus is a public health emergency, the American Hotel & Lodging Association is sharing the most updated facts and resources with you to inform both your employees and your guests.

Hotels already follow strict guidelines and protocols designed to help prevent the spread of diseases from the flu to less common illnesses, and AH&LA will continue to monitor the latest developments tied to this virus issued by government and health officials.

In these kinds of evolving cases, it is imperative that we stay informed, be vigilant, and adhere to official guidelines. To that end, we encourage our guests to heed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and recommendations for travelers, particularly those who are traveling internationally.

While there is concern about the potential spread of the virus here in the U.S., it is important to underscore that the White House and the nation's top health officials have emphasized that the dangers of a serious outbreak in this country remain very low.

Below are some of the more pressing questions asked about the virus, followed by useful resources issued by U.S. and global health agencies.

We will continue to update you on this issue as we monitor developments on the virus and government action to stop its spread.



What is the Zika virus?

Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.


What are the symptoms?

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. 


How is it transmitted?

Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. It is not yet known how often Zika is transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Thus far, the CDC has reported the first known breakout of Zika in the United States, transmitted sexually.


Who can contract it?

Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found who has not already been infected with Zika virus is at risk for infection, including pregnant women.


Is traveling safe?

As of Feb. 1, 2016, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of Zika in the Americas an international emergency to accelerate research and aid. Health and government experts say limited local transmission may occur in the mainland United States, but it's unlikely that we will see widespread transmission of Zika in the mainland U.S.


Additional useful resources:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works to protect America from health, safety and security threats. Whether foreign or in the United States, CDC fights diseases, supports communities in need, and increases health security.


The World Health Organization's main role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations system. Their main area of work includes: health systems, promoting healthy through the life course, noncommunicable and communicable diseases, and much more.

The Pan American Health Organization is the world's oldest international public health agency. PAHO works to provide technical cooperation and mobilize partnerships to improve health and quality of life in the Americas. Together with the World Health Organization, PAHO is also a member of the United Nations system.