Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) within two weeks of exposure. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. However, there have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving. Please check out CDC website for the most up-to-date information as well as the most up-to-date areas effected by the Zika virus:
What CDC recommends for pregnant patients:
Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
- Women who are pregnant (in any trimester):
- Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
- If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
- Women who are trying to become pregnant:
- Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
- Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
Because Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes, CDC recommends that travelers to South America protect themselves from mosquito bites.
What can travelers do to prevent Zika?
There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
If you are pregnant and have concerns regarding possible exposure to Zika:
- Make an appointment with the nurse practitioner or your OB physicians to discuss concerns
- Please bring in documentation supporting dates of travel to countries with confirmed Zika transmission.
- Currently, Foxhall OB/GYN is not doing bloodwork for Zika but will refer pregnant patients at risk to a facility where Zika testing is being performed.
- Pregnant patients with documentation supporting dates of travel to area with Zika will be offered sonograms to look for “microcephaly” or “intracranial calcifications”.
- Foxhall will submit appropriate testing to your insurance carrier however can not guarantee insurance coverage. You will be asked to sign a waiver for any additional testing offered due to possible Zika exposure.
- Avoid Bug Bites
- Insect Repellent Use and Safety
- CDC Zika website
- Zika Virus in Central America
- Zika Virus in Mexico
Countries and territories with active Zika virus transmission
Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela
American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga