Pregnant women in any trimester have been advised to avoid travelling to some countries due to recent outbreaks of Zika Virus.

 

Pregnant women in any trimester have been advised to avoid travelling to some countries due to recent outbreaks of Zika Virus. CDC says those who must travel, as well as women who are thinking about becoming pregnant, should talk to their doctor first and “strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites” during their trip.


Zika transmission is ongoing in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

‘Zika virus is caused by certain mosquito which has been linked to brain damage in babies. The virus first appeared on the South American continent in May. Although only one person in five ever gets symptoms, and even then it often causes only mild rashes, red eyes and fevers, women who have had it, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy, appear to be much more likely to have children with small heads and damaged brains, a condition called microcephaly. Zika virus has been found in brain tissue and amniotic fluid from babies who died in the womb or were born with microcephaly by both Brazilian and American scientists. Microcephaly has several other causes, including genetic defects, alcohol exposure in pregnancy, or rubella or cytomegalovirus in the mother during pregnancy.’




The ways and manners of penetration of Zika into the placenta is still a misery yet unresolved ‘Scientists do not know why or how Zika crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain to do damage. It is not related to rubella or cytomegalovirus, but is related to yellow fever (Yellow fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes. You can catch this disease if you are bitten by a mosquito infected with this virus. If a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms usually develop 3 – 6 days later), dengue and West Nile virus, which are not widely known to harm embryos’.

 

There is no vaccine for Zika, but the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been working on possible vaccine in the last one month, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the institute’s director.

“We believe this is a fairly serious problem,” said Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, chief of vector-borne diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This virus is spreading throughout the Americas. We didn’t feel we could wait.”

‘This appears to be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised pregnant women to avoid a specific region. The warning is expected to affect the travel industry and could affect the Summer Olympics, set for Brazil in August ‘says NY times. Since the outbreak over a thousand babies had been born with various brain defects.


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