Can Zika affect future pregnancies? If you are getting pregnant or trying to conceive, then Zika virus may be one of the tops concerns you feel worried about, right? The reason is very clear. This type of mosquito-borne virus dominates headlines with its dangerous and scary advance into America and potentially devastates consequences for moms-to-be and their babies.
The arrival of the Zika virus has left many future pregnant women with a lot of questions. “May this virus cause catastrophic brain damage in fetuses?” “Can Zika affect future pregnancies?” “What should I do to prevent the consequence?” Let’s find out more here.
What is the Zika virus?
The Zika virus is an infection transmitted by mosquito, which is relating to yellow and dengue fever and West Nile virus. People found it the Zika forest in Uganda (in 1947). The virus is very common and wide across Africa and Asia. However, it did not start spreading widely in the Western Hemisphere until 2013. This dangerous virus was the “mystery disease” that swept across northeast Brazil. Nearly no one in the US is immune. That’s why it has rapidly spread.
About 4/5 victims have no clear symptoms. Furthermore, they will often recover within a week. Some common signs of disease include an itchy pink rash, a fever rarely higher than 102 degrees, sensitivity to light, bloodshot eyes, joint pains and headaches.
How may Zika be transmitted?
Zika is mainly transmitted and spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. A mosquito tends to bite and draw blood from an infected person. Then, the insect itself can get infected and continue biting other people. In addition, the virus may also be sexually transmitted through vaginal, oral or even anal intercourse. Transmission may become true from a man to a woman. It is vital to keep in mind that transmission may even take place if an infected individual isn’t symptomatic.
Can Zika affect future pregnancies? In fact, the Zika can also pass from a mama to a new kid around the time of birth or during pregnancy. However, according to ACOG (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), there are no clinical studies that claim the risk to an unborn baby if this is an infected mom. The Zika virus can be transmitted along via a blood transfusion in some rare situations, according to the CDC.
In general, Zika virus has been detected in amniotic fluid, fetal tissue, full-term infants, and in the placenta. Further, the breast milk is also where people find the trace amounts of the virus. Yet, it is not a threat because the amount is tiny.
If a girl/woman is infected with Zika virus today, will it harm a future pregnancy?
The answer to this question is: it is probably not. As per many scientists, those who are infected by Zika virus will develop immunity to it, just like any other viruses, i.e. measles or chickenpox. For that reason, if this is unfortunately a infected woman, then her body is clear the virus. Since then, there will be no complications about Zika during her pregnancy.
What places should future mothers avoid?
Can Zika affect future pregnancies? Of course, yes! Thus, world health authorities expect that the outbreak may even reach every place in the Americas where the infected mosquito has previously spread the dengue virus. It is about everywhere from Florida and Gulf Coast to Northern Argentina. In some cases, Hawaii can be also affected. Some Pacific Islands have been currently encountering outbreaks. According to the CDC, even within those countries, pregnant ladies are quite able to safely set foot in the areas at altitudes above 6,500 feet since it cannnot find mosquitoes there.
What percentage of Zika-infected moms-to-be have babies with birth defects?
The truth is that scientists are not sure about how common these birth defects are. As per CDC, 1% to 13% of expectant mothers infected with Zika in the 1st stage of pregnancy will often have a fetus with microcephaly. Through ultrasounds, 29% of fetuses from Zika-infected mamas had significant problems, in comparison to none of the fetuses from the uninfected women.
Can Zika affect future pregnancies? How to reduce the risk of being infected?
According to the advice of CDC, pregnant women should be highly cautious when it comes to having intercourse with their spouses who have traveled to a affected region. During all forms of sex, couples should use condoms. This helps to reduce the risk of potential transmission. Or they should even totally abstain for the duration of the pregnancy. Even if you don’t get pregnant, it is still important to take precautions, particularly if you trying to conceive. Husbands or boyfriends who have symptoms of disease or travel to a Zika region should use condoms for 6 months. Once their wives or girlfriends are infected, then condoms should be used for 8 weeks.
Unluckily, there is no vaccine for Zika. Yet, as per many recent researchers, there have been certain existing drugs. And people can use these drugs to prevent the Zika from replicating in the body as well as protect fetal cells. Moreover, scientists could have discovered an antibody that may help to fight the virus.
But, don’t wait until a treatment has become effective. Instead, you should do something in advance to reduce your risk for infection. How? Make sure to take every precaution to avoid mosquito bites and stay with the latest recommendations below:
- Consider using bug spray with DEET that is quite safe for both nursing and pregnant women. It is better to read the label and follow the directions
- Don’t forget to wear shirts with long sleeves and pants, instead of shorts
- Wash your clothes with permethrin – a type of insecticide
- Rid and clear your home of any free-standing water
Are not you pregnant but still have concerns since your partner has been to a Zika-affected region? It is time to make use of condoms or abstain. Yet, setting foot in the region is not the only factor which contributes to contracting the disease. There are still other risks that develop the infection, like how many days you stayed, how many mosquito bites you received and what kind of prevention measures you used to prevent the bites. After reading this article, can you find the answer to this questions “Can Zika affect future pregnancies?”
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