Zika virus changes travel plans for one couple

Posted at 11:35 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 23:36:05-04

Two more cases of Zika reported in Florida Tuesday brings the total number to 154.  So far, all of those cases are travel related.  But the virus is causing some locals to rethink their summer vacation plans.

Growing up, Mike Heller loved cruising.

“Anything that had a 'saint' in front of it, St. Martin, St. John, St. Thomas, they were all fun," said the West Palm Beach realtor.

After getting wife Cle on board a ship 18 months ago for the first time, the couple wanted little Sophie to get her first cruising experience.  The tickets were almost fully booked back in March when Cle’s mother first alerted them to the Zika virus.

“I start to get really worried and I call Michael and I say ‘have you heard about this Zika thing?'" recalled Cle as red-headed Sophie bounced on her lap.

As news about Zika spread, the Miller’s decided to cancel their trip.

“We're trying to expand our family so we don’t know if between the time we book our cruise and go on the cruise, what if we got pregnant and what if I got pregnant after the cruise and one of us had the Zika virus and didn’t know about it," said Cle Heller.

The Heller’s got their deposit back and feel like they dodged a bullet.

“When it comes to family and it comes to having children, you can’t do too much to protect them or protect yourself and you can’t take any chances in this day and age," said Cle Heller.

The Hellers say at least for the next few years, Caribbean cruises are off their itinerary.

According to the CDC, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects.