Brazil has dealt with a Zika virus outbreak since May 2015
The number of babies born with microcephaly has increased since the outbreak, and scientists are working to uncover the link between Zika and microcephaly, if one exists.
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito found in tropical regions, the same mosquito that transmits the chikungunya virus and dengue and yellow fevers. The Zika virus normally lasts two to seven days and causes a rash, fever, joint pain, red eyes, headaches and muscle pain in 20% of infected people. Most of those infected are actually asymptomatic.
Our Memphis fertility center cautions women who are trying to conceive
In pregnant women, the Zika virus can potentially cause a birth defect called microcephaly. Microcephaly is associated with babies born with an unusually small head and health problems that affect hearing, seeing, speaking, moving, balancing, feeding and swallowing. Microcephaly can also lead to seizures and intellectual disabilities.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women and those trying to conceive talk to their healthcare providers before traveling to Zika-affected areas. The Zika virus may be transmittable through sex, so the CDC also states that males who are trying to conceive should be cautious as well. Further, women who are pregnant or planning to conceive should not have unprotected sex with men who have recently traveled to Zika-affected areas. The CDC updates its website frequently with travel warnings, so you should check it prior to planning a trip: cdc.gov/zika.
If it’s possible to postpone or cancel your trip to affected areas, you should. If postponing isn’t possible, use extreme caution.
Pregnant women, or those trying to conceive, should protect themselves from mosquito bites and from having unprotected sex with partners who have recently traveled to Zika-affected areas
It isn’t yet known why or if Zika virus causes birth defects, so at this stage pregnant women should use extra caution. There is currently no cure for Zika virus, though scientists are working to develop one as well as a vaccine.
For now, our Memphis fertility center urges you to take action to prevent against mosquito bites.
- Keep skin covered to deter mosquitos.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants and closed-toe shoes in mosquito-heavy areas.
- Stay in air-conditioned areas if possible.
- Remove standing water to reduce your chances of harboring mosquitos.
- Utilize screens for your doors and windows.
- Use an insect repellant.
It’s safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women to use EPA-registered bug spray; just stick to the instructions, and apply as recommended.
If you’re pregnant and you’ve recently traveled to an area with a Zika outbreak, the CDC recommends you get tested for the virus within two weeks of your trip. Contact us at our Memphis fertility center to discuss any concerns or questions about the Zika virus and pregnancy.