If you are thinking about getting pregnant, or are currently pregnant, the CDC warns traveling to Central and South America. Mosquitoes are currently transmitting the Zika virus, which is causing microencephaly in unborn babies. They are gathering more and more information, and will be putting out a comprehensive guideline for travelers who may have to travel to this part of the world. There is already a case in Hawaii, but the mother and child are not currently contagious – from what authorities understand, it is a vector born illness, only transmitted through a specific type of mosquito in south and central America, especially Brazil.
The CDC explains, “microcephaly is a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads, causing severe developmental issues and sometimes death.”
Zika is related to the yellow fever virus, as well as West Nile, chikungunya, and dengue. Currently there is no medicine to treat a Zika virus infection. Right now it is only understood to be transmitted by mosquito bite, so pregnant women and women TTC (trying to conceive) must use precaution when traveling. This could become a pandemic. If you do not have to travel during your pregnancy or conception time, please avoid it, especially to the areas that are fighting the carrying mosquitoes. There were 2,400 cases in Brasil last year and the number is rising. Many women are miscarrying, while some are giving birth to children with microencephaly. As it is increasing, it may be a while before it peaks and dies out, which many hope that it will soon. As peak mosquito season in Brasil is in April, it is only ramping up. Perhaps by fall this year it will begin to decrease. Until then, researchers are working on a vaccine and better diagnostics and treatments, although no progress has been made.
If you have a rash, eye pain, fever or any other strange symptoms and are pregnant, and have recently traveled to any countries in south or central America, please call your doctor and seek medical attention right away. Unlike dengue fever, this virus is now changing and affecting fetuses in pregnant women, not just adults and children, which is a new turn of events in viral, vector-born diseases. Although we do not have the same types of mosquitoes in the U.S. as they do in Brazil, the U.S. does have the Aedes mosquito, which can also serve as a vector for Zika.
Again, if you plan to travel, and are trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant, please check travel warnings and take the correct precautions.Contact SMF Today