Zika: Are You at Risk?

You’ve all probably heard about the Zika virus at this point. But do you know everything you need to in order to keep you and your baby healthy?

The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus to be an international public health emergency, prompted by growing concern that it could cause birth defects. It is predicted that 4 million people could be infected by the end of the year. The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Until now, almost no one on this side of the world had been infected. Few people here have immune defenses against the virus, so it is spreading rapidly.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging pregnant women not to travel to almost two dozen countries, mostly in the Caribbean and Latin America, where the outbreak continues to grow.

The infection appears to be linked to the development of unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns. If you are pregnant and have travelled to the affected regions, the CDC recommends getting tested for the infection. If you are pregnant and considering travelling to one of these areas, you may want to consider postponing your trip. The CDC continues to update the list of areas to avoid if you are pregnant so be sure to check their website prior to getting on a plane.

We recommend talking to your doctor if you are of childbearing age and plan to travel in the near future.

Click to view a pdf of Zika Basics.

Click to view a Consumer Reports Ratings article about Insect Repellants to prevent Zika.

Credit: The New York Times, Short Answers to Hard Questions, 2/24/2016

Posted February 29, 2016

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