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September 16, 2016 | Happenings, Health Advice

Understanding Zika Virus Threats

The recent Summer Olympic Games in Rio brought attention to the Zika virus and its dangers to pregnant women. Closer to home, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an official health advisory regarding the Zika virus. It is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, but it can also be sexually transmitted.

The Zika virus has been found in many areas including:

  • Florida
  • Mexico
  • The Caribbean
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • The Pacific Islands
  • Cape Verde

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause severe fetal brain defects and has been associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Pregnant women and women of reproductive age should avoid travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission. If travel is necessary, ask your provider about the risks and important steps to prevent mosquito bites. Full details may also be found on the CDC website.

Most people infected with Zika virus will not have symptoms. Women and men who have traveled to infected areas and who have a pregnant sex partner should consistently and correctly use condoms to prevent infection during sex, or avoid sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

The most recent CDC guidelines recommend that all pregnant women in the United States be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit. Hudson Physicians now provides that screening at each visit. Please tell our staff and your provider if you have recently traveled or are planning to travel to an area of active Zika transmission.

If you have additional concerns about Zika virus exposure, visit the CDC or call your health provider at 715-531-6800.