What is Zika virus in pregnancy? Why is it a concern during pregnancy? Zika is a virus that is primarily spread by certain kinds of mosquitoes. In the worst cases, the virus is able to cause birth defects, i.e. microcephaly, in unborn kid whose mom was infected during her pregnancy. Of course, the news tends to sound scary. Fortunately, Zika isn’t being spread by mosquitoes in lots of parts of the United States. That is why the risk of getting this virus is very low. But, you should not to travel to the regions where there is the presence of Zika virus!
Where is the virus?
If you are getting pregnant, it is better to stay away from traveling to these areas: El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, French Guiana, Martinique, Mexico, Honduras, Paraguay, Panama, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela. There are many regions in the list of places expectant moms should avoid by the CDC, including Guadeloupe, Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Saint Martin, Cape Verde, Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic.
If you have made a trip to one of these affected areas, there is nothing more important than get a test for the virus at between two and twelve weeks of travel. For the best result, some hospitals or health care centers can help you!
Outbreaks of Zika virus in pregnancy have been available in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Yet, there is also cause for concern in the US as well. According to the report, a confirmed case of the illness took place in Texas, where 2 expectant mothers were infected in Illinois. So, the recent research warns that the potential of Zika can be available within the Americas. Parts of Florida were also detected to have outbreaks.
Right now, the risk of getting Zika virus in the US states is extremely low. According to the reports of CDC, as of December 12, 2016, among people living in the states:
- About 185 citizens have get infection by Zika from mosquitoes, primarily in the Miami area and some cases in southern Texas.
- Approximately 38 people have get infection by Zika through practicing sex with their infected partner.
- About 4,389 citizens have get infection by Zika while setting foot in other countries.
In the U.S. territories (the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa), the toll is much higher: Over 33,000 residents have get infection by Zika, mostly from mosquitoes.
Can Zika cause microcephaly or other birth defects?
Of course, it can. Although most kids born to their infected mothers appear to be healthy, some are still born with microcephaly or even other health problems. Some of these problems can develop problems later. In fact, microcephaly is one of the serious birth defects in which the brain does not develop as normal. Based on the severity of the condition, microcephaly is able to lead to a number of problems, i.e. delayed development and seizures.
A few children infected with Zika before birth have been found to suffer from other birth defects, like vision and hearing defects, missing brain structures, or poor growth. Even experts cannot find how likely your baby is to have birth defects if you are infected by Zika virus in pregnancy. Also, they do not know whether you can be at higher risk or not when you get infection during a particular trimester.
How do you contract Zika virus in pregnancy?
- By a bite from certain mosquitoes. In general, there are 2 types of mosquitoes which may carry the Zika virus. In case you live in or visit a place where these mosquitoes reside (mainly in the tropics and subtropics), the chances are that you may get Zika if being bitten by one. That is how most people get Zika.
- By sexual intercourse. Partners with Zika are also able to transmit it to each other. So, don’t forget to protect yourself from Zika during sex.
- By a blood transfusion. Nobody has become infected with Zika via a blood transfusion in the US. Yet, it is a major risk. That is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required blood collection centers to screen all types of blood for the Zika virus.
- By passing from mom to child. Moms-to-be with Zika are able to transmit the virus to their unborn kids. So far, there is no evidence that babies get Zika through breastfeeding.
When should I test for Zika?
According to the CDC, you should go for a test if:
- You have been infected with Zika (either via sex or travel) and then develop a few symptoms (joint pain, rash, fever, or pinkeye) within 2 weeks of that possible exposure.
- You are now getting pregnant and you have get some signs of Zika virus through visiting a country where people get the virus from mosquitoes or through having sex with your spouse who has been exposed to Zika.
Of course, going for a test may be expensive and complex. Choose a qualify method? Then, the doctor can take a blood/urine sample. After that, he will0 send this sample to a state or federal lab. It can need to be tested in 3 different ways to figure out whether you have been exposed to Zika or not. It may take weeks to get the final results.
What is the treatment for Zika?
In fact, there is no medicine or vaccine to treat or prevent Zika virus in pregnancy. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health are trying best to create one. However, it is likely to be years before a Zika vaccine seems to be available. In case a health care provider diagnoses that you have Zika during pregnancy, then he can order extra ultrasounds to check on the development of your unborn kid. He/she can suggest treating your symptoms in the following ways:
- Drink lots of water to steer clear of dehydration.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Take acetaminophen to relieve pain and fever. It is better not to take NSAIDS like aspirin or ibuprofen.