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Zika Virus and Pregnancy

 

You’ve probably heard about the Zika virus in the news, and hopefully you know of the CDC recommended travel warning for pregnant women, or those women trying to become pregnant; avoid non-essential travel to areas with the Zika virus.

The Zika virus has been associated with the development of a birth defect called microcephaly, as well as miscarriage.  Microcephaly is a condition of small head and brain development, and can be associated with seizures, eye abnormalities, hearing loss, and other problems in growth and neurologic development.

 

According to ACOG, “there is demonstrated causation between the Zika virus infection during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as pregnancy loss, microcephaly, and other brain and eye abnormalities.”  The actual rate of microcephaly in pregnancy due to a Zika virus infection is not known, but one study suggests a 1%-13% risk of microcephaly to babies born of Zika infected mothers.

The Zika virus has been found in Puerto Rico, Mexico, US Virgin Islands, Central and South America, the Carribiean and the Pacific Islands, and south Florida, among other areas.  The mosquito that carries the virus is known to infect in daytime hours as well as night/dusk.  The use of mosquito repellant and wearing long sleeves (even at daytime) are recommended.  The virus is also spread by sexual contact with an infected person, therefore, the CDC also recommends a period of protected sex using condom with your partner if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Inform your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant/trying to become pregnant and you/your partner plan travel (or have recently travelled to) an area with Zika virus.  For more information on the Zika virus, check the CDC’s website here:

http://cdc.gov/zika/

Suzanne Hall, MD (@drsuzyyhall)

Eastside Gynecology Obstetrics, PC

Offices located in Roseville, Macomb, Grosse Pointe, Rochester MI

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