Worried about Zika? Here are the latest facts about the virus to help you protect your family’s health:
- Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or delivery.
- The primary way that pregnant women get Zika virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito.
- Zika has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, including absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing problems and impaired growth.
- Pregnant women should avoid travelling to areas where Zika virus is prevalent. This includes more than thirty countries, mostly in the Caribbean and Latin America. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider in advance and carefully follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. Pregnant women who have visited these regions should be tested for the infection.
- Evidence suggests that Zika virus can also be spread by a man to his sexual partners through intercourse.
- As many as four million people could be infected by Zika by the end of 2016.
- Health officials predict that once infected patients have recovered and have developed an immunity to Zika, the epidemic will fade and women can safely become pregnant again.
- Many companies are working on Zika vaccines. Delaying pregnancy will buy time for them to arrive.
- Women who have had symptoms of the virus or tested positive for Zika should wait at least eight weeks after their symptoms first appeared before trying to get pregnant.
- Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant (as well as their sexual partners) should take the following precautions:
- Wear clothing (preferably light in color) that covers as much of the body as possible.
- Use insect repellent.
- Use physical barriers such as mesh screens or treated netting materials on doors and windows.
- Eliminate all potential mosquito breeding sites by emptying, cleaning or covering containers that can hold even small amounts of water such as buckets and flower pots.
To learn more about how to protect your health, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.