Zika and Pregnancy: Know Before You Go

Pregnant-Woman-HikingThe mosquito-transmitted Zika virus has influenced travel plans and led to worldwide recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization that include guidelines for people who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

Rajesh Govindaiah, MD, Memorial Health System’s chief medical officer, encourages women who are pregnant to see their healthcare provider if they develop a fever, rash, joint pain, headache or conjunctivitis within two weeks of traveling to a country where cases of the Zika virus have been reported.

“The illness itself is generally mild, lasting only a few days to a week,” Govindaiah said, “but there is great concern about the potential and adverse effects of the Zika virus on fetal growth and anatomy.”

Three things to know about Zike from the CDC:

  • There is neither a vaccine nor prophylactic medications available to prevent Zika virus infection.
  • The CDC recommends that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
  • There is no specific antiviral treatment for Zika virus; supportive care is recommended.

The bottom line? Pregnant women should avoid travel to countries with Zika, take steps to prevent mosquito bites and take steps to prevent contracting the Zika virus through sex.