We’re still talking about Zika?
Yes. Yes we are. But for some reason, people have forgotten about how important the discussion is. I don’t blame you. The news has been inundated with other topics.
But at least weekly I meet a new pregnant patient who has either recently traveled to a Zika endemic area or is scheduled to go to one. I find myself either trying to convince ladies not to go or surprising them with the info that they now need Zika testing because they conceived too close to their Zika trip.
Zika can be contracted from mosquito bites AND sex and can be passed from mother to unborn child.
Here are your TOP FIVE Zika rules for pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy.
- If you are pregnant, DO NOT travel to a Zika endemic area (an area or region where the Zika virus is present.)
- If you have traveled to a Zika endemic area, DO NOT conceive (get pregnant) until at least 3 months after your return.
- If you find out that you are pregnant in a Zika endemic area and can’t leave immediately, USE MOSQUITO REPELLENT.
- If your partner travels to a Zika endemic area, either make sure he is tested and is negative for Zika or DO NOT have unprotected intercourse for at least 3 months.
- If you are pregnant and have had potential exposure to Zika within the last 3 months, get your BLOOD TESTED for Zika exposure.
Even if you don’t have definite mosquito bites, you could still have been possibly exposed. It is possible to have a small mosquito bite that you don’t notice that can lead to infection.
Also, most people who contract the Zika virus do not have symptoms. But, even if the mother has no symptoms, she can still have a baby who is affected by the virus. We don’t know all of the possible effects of the Zika virus either. Everyone knows about anencephaly, but milder disease may lead to less visible affects, but developmental delays that can affect that child forever.
The Center for Disease Control says this:
“Babies who were infected with Zika before birth may have damage to their eyes and/or the part of their brain that is responsible for vision, which may affect their visual development. Both babies with and without microcephaly can have eye problems.
From the CDC
A recent study in Brazil found that at 19-24 months, babies with congenital Zika virus infection exhibited challenges with sitting independently, feeding, and sleeping. The babies also experienced seizures and hearing and vision problems, such as not responding to the sound of a rattle and not being able to follow a moving object with their eyes. It is important to note that babies affected by Zika virus will continue to require specialized care from many types of healthcare providers and caregivers as they age.”
You don’t want those kind of problems. I don’t care if you DO lose your deposit, DON’T GO.
Originally, everyone had their eyes on Mexico and the Carribean. Now areas in India and many countries in Africa are also on the Zika list. (Click here to check if the place you are thinking about going to is on the Zika Map. It’s a searchable map.)
But what about the people who live in those countries?
I get asked this question at least quarterly, as though we shouldn’t worry because some people live in the Zika risk territories and are “fine”. Stats that report Zika cases globally aren’t easy to find. I did find US and US Territory numbers, though.
From the CDC, 2018 counts so far are as follows:
In the US States:
– 64 Zika virus disease cases reported†
– 64 cases in travelers returning from affected areas.The Center for Disease Control
In US Territories:
– 116 Zika virus disease cases reported† 0 cases in travelers returning from an affected area
– 116 cases acquired through presumed local mosquito-borne transmission