For people planning trips to Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, some South Pacific islands,
and other areas where Zika is still being spread, there are ways to prevent Zika virus
infection in pregnant women.
Why should I worry about Zika?
The concern for pregnancy is that the virus causes birth defects including microephaly and a
collapsed skull, which means a baby’s head is small and the child has a smaller-than-average
brain. This can affect the child’s motor development and can cause learning disabilities. Other
problems include calcifications in the brain, eye problems, and damage to joints and muscles that
limit the baby’s ability to move.
Who should worry about Zika?
Pregnant women should avoid travel to those areas where Zika is being spread.
If women that are not pregnant travel alone to those areas, they should avoid sex or use a condom
for 2 months after they return in case they were exposed to Zika virus. If the woman’s partner
traveled also or alone to those areas, the couple should avoid sex or use a condom for 3 months
since the virus lasts longer in men.
If a pregnant woman must travel to one of the affected countries, precautions should be taken.
These include using mosquito repellant containing DEET and wearing long-sleeved shirts and
pants. The Aedes mosquito can bite during the day or indoors.
What are the symptoms of Zika?
Pregnant women that traveled to those areas should watch for flu-like symptoms of infection
including fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, rash, and “pinkeye.” If symptoms are present,
they should talk with their doctor and treat the symptoms, especially the fever. Not everyone has
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