The Zika virus made one of the top health stories in 2016,
but as the mosquito season came to an end, so did the headlines. As we welcome
the summer of 2017, and enter mosquito season again, what do pregnant women need
to know? Is the Zika virus still spreading, and how can pregnant women protect
In November 2016, the World Health Organization lifted the
public health emergency, but that does not mean the Zika outbreak has ended.
Over 4,000 new cases were reported from November to January 2017 in the United
States and its territories. For pregnant women prevention is critical because
there is no vaccine or treatment for Zika.
Brownsville Texas, southern Florida and Puerto Rico are still
reporting cases of the Zika virus. Anyone planning on visiting these states
should review exactly where the CDC has issued travel warnings. Don’t forget,
even if you are not pregnant, but plan on getting pregnant soon after your
trip, you could be putting yourself and unborn baby at risk.
How can you protect yourself? First and most importantly,
don’t travel to an area with Zika during your pregnancy. Use mosquito
repellants when outdoors, and cover up bare arms and legs if you’re planning on
going outside. If you partner is travelling to an active Zika location while
you are pregnant, you need to use condoms for the duration of your pregnancy.
Plan on traveling? Talk to your medical provider about areas you plan on
visiting, and if you could be putting yourself at risk. Stay safe at home by
getting rid of any standing water in and around your yard. Mosquitoes that
transmit Zika don’t need much moisture to lay eggs, so turn over kiddie pools
and pet water bowls when not in use.
Talk to your healthcare provider at Great Plains Women’s Health
if you are pregnant and plan on traveling to at-risk areas. We strongly encourage anyone traveling to
these areas to take the above mentioned precautions to protect all involved.