News

Date Published: 1/29/2016

Update on the Zika Virus

We want to share with you what we know about the Zika virus outbreak. This information is particularly important for pregnant women or women who are considering becoming pregnant.


What is Zika?
Zika is a virus transmitted primarily by mosquitoes found in certain areas of the world, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil and many of the Caribbean islands. All of the cases so far in the US have been related to people who have travelled to the endemic areas. For a complete list, please see www.cdc.gov/zika. An estimated 80 percent of those infected with Zika virus do not have symptoms. Pregnant women can be infected with Zika virus in any trimester.

 

How can the Zika Virus Affect Me and My Unborn Child?
There have been reports in Brazil of birth defects and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. More studies are planned to confirm the suspected linkage of Zika to birth defects and to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

 

Should I Avoid Traveling?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women or women planning a pregnancy postpone travel to any area where Zika virus has been found. If you must travel to one of these areas, you should discuss your plans with your doctor and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.

 

If I'm Not Pregnant and Become Infected with the Virus, Will My Future Pregnancies be at Risk?
No. If you are infected by Zika, the virus usually remains in the blood for about a week. The virus will not cause infections in a baby that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood.

 

Is There a Vaccine to Prevent Zika or Medicine to Treat It?
No. There is no vaccine to prevent infection or medicine to treat Zika.

 

What Do I Do if I've Been Exposed to Zika?
Contact your OB/GYN. If you meet the criteria to be tested, your healthcare provider will refer you to our Charleston Maternal Fetal Medicine Center.