Zika Virus UPDATE: 9 things you need to know when planning a pregnancy
- How is it spread? The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopticusmosquitos, which also carry Yellow fever and the Chikungunya virus.
- Why the big fuss? It is usually not harmful in healthy adults but there is a suspected link with microcephaly in unborn children
- What are the consequences of Zika in a fetus? The CDC has reported that of the 1,450 infants born in the U.S. territories after confirmed or possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy, 1 in 7 had neurologic sequelae possibly related to Zika infection.
- What are the chances of having a child affected by Zika? Per CDC preliminary data: Zika virus-associated birth defects have been found in10% of pregnancies of pregnancies with laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection and in 15% of those where infection occurred during the first trimester.
- What is the good news? As of February 2019, there has been no local risk of transmission of Zika virus in the continental U.S., even in Florida or Texas (which last reported transmission during 2016-2017).
- What are the symptoms of Zika infection? Symptoms are flu-like and nonspecific (and they can include red eyes, headache, fever, rash, muscle and joint pain).
- I am trying to conceive. Can I travel to the Caribbean, Mexico or what? You should talk to your doctor and take precautions if you must go. Currently there are no places that have “CURRENT outbreaks,” but this is subject to change at any moment. Travel to places that have “CURRENT #ZIKA outbreaks” should be avoided.
- What about m
y partner? If travel to a “No current outbreak” area cannot be avoided, prevent mosquito bites during and after travel and take note of the following if you are #ttc Men w/partner #ttc: Use condoms or abstain from intercourse for at least 3 months upon return before resuming #ttc For women #ttc: note the above if traveling with partner, but if traveling alone, then wait at least 8 weeks before resuming #ttc
- What if I don’t want to wait and want to proceed with fertility treatment? TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Zika testing as noted above is not perfect and there may be risks of Zika even if testing is negative (Zika may live longer in semen). Talk to your doctor before making decisions about travel plans AND #fertility treatment timing. Each situation is unique.
Want the most updated information on Zika? Visithe CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html
By: Vinita Alexander, REI Fellow