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From freakout to slow burn, Zika has potential to impact business

Patrick Thibodeau | April 14, 2016
Zika fears could affect business travel, job recruiting and the supply chain

Zika is spread by mosquitoes but also can be sexually transmitted. It's most alarming impact is to women who may be pregnant. The virus has been linked to birth defects.

Fletcher is part of team looking at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital response to the Ebola crisis. One man, a Liberian national who arrived in Dallas from Liberia, was suffering from Ebola. He went to the hospital, was misdiagnosed, sent home, and later two hospital nurses contracted the virus.

Fletcher's paper examines what went wrong, and blames hubris in part.

America has a "it can't happen here attitude" and a superiority complex over the rest of the world, Fletcher said. But there were also "abysmal failures" in Dallas.

Zika and Ebola are different, but when it was announced that there was an Ebola patient in Dallas, "there was a massive freakout, and I think it did impact travel to Dallas," Fletcher said. She added that something similar could happen here because of Zika but to a lesser extent.

One impact from the Zika has been a huge increase in demand for mosquito repellent, and manufacturers are now producing all they can, said Toby Brzoznowski, the executive vice president of LLamasoft.

There is a belief that the media coverage of Zika will be influential on the decision making in terms of recreational and business travel in those regions that see cases.

"The media storm will outweigh the actual conditions, but it will certainly affect travel into the South," Brzoznowski said.


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