zika virus pregnancyIf you’re pregnant and have travel plans out of the country coming up, it may be worth considering postponing the trip depending on where you’re going.  “I’ve been getting calls from worried patients about the Zika virus that has been making headlines,” says Dr. Elina Pfaffenbach.  “Truthfully, they have a right to be concerned if they’re traveling to an area where cases of the Zika virus have been reported.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

“CDC has issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. However, additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship. More studies are planned to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.”

The virus is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites and can then be transmitted from an expecting mother to the baby.  “Only about one in five people with the virus will get sick,” commented Dr. Pfaffenbach, “and there’s no vaccine women who are traveling can get as a preventative measure or medicine they can take if they become infected. Infection can have devastating effects for a baby in utero. I advise women to be cautious and to look on the CDC website for updated information before traveling.  I also highly recommend using insect repellent if they have to travel near these areas.”

For more information and recommendations regarding the Zika virus and steps you can take to avoid bug bites, please visit the CDC website.