4 cases of Zika virus now reported in Illinois

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Zika cases expected to rise substantially, experts say
Health experts say they expect substantially more people to become infected with the the Zika virus.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- State health officials say a fourth case of Zika virus has been confirmed in Illinois.

The virus is typically spread to people through mosquito bites.

The illness is typically mild. But when pregnant women are infected, the virus can cause serious birth defects. Health officials have issued advisories to people traveling to foreign countries where Zika outbreaks have been reported.

Caribbean reports tourism surge, braces for Zika impact

The Caribbean is reporting a surge in tourism that easily surpassed the global growth rate as it set new arrival and spending records amid concerns the mosquito-borne Zika virus could put a dent in those numbers this year.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization says nearly 29 million people visited the region last year. Officials said Tuesday that represents a 7 percent jump that surpassed the 4 percent global tourism growth rate. Visitors spent $30 billion last year, a $1 billion increase from 2014.

The news comes as Latin American and Caribbean countries struggle with an increase in Zika cases. Officials said there have been a "negligible" number of trip cancellations to the Caribbean but did not have a specific figure. Puerto Rico has reported several wedding and business conference cancellations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.