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Women's Health Issues

The Zika Virus and How You Can Prevent It

The Zika is a virus predominantly spread by infected Aedes mosquitos. The virus can also be transmitted sexually, though that is likely less common.

Zika virus causes a relatively mild, weeklong illness in most people, but many do not develop symptoms. Those who contract Zika might experience fever, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

If a woman is infected during pregnancy, her fetus is at risk. Being infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect, microcephaly, as well as other fetal brain defects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel alert urging pregnant women to avoid traveling in locations where Zika transmission is ongoing. If travel is unavoidable, proper precautions must be taken. These include:

  • the use of EPA-approved bug spray with DEET
  • covering exposed skin
  • staying in AC/screened-in areas
  • and treating clothing with permethrin

If you have traveled to an area where there has been Zika, talk to your health care provider even if you do not feel ill. By taking proper precautions, you can protect yourself and your child from contracting Zika.

If you have additional questions regarding Zika virus contact one of our Women's Centers.