Should I be worried about pregnancy and Zika?
What has attracted the attention of many health authorities throughout the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), are concerns about possible birth defects being linked to the Zika virus.
The Director General of the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern on February 1, 2016, regarding clusters of microcephaly cases and neurological disorders in some areas affected by the Zika virus. On April 7, 2016, the WHO indicated there is a scientific consensus that Zika virus can cause microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome and the CDC stated April 13, 2016, that there was now enough evidence to definitively say that the Zika virus causes microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a rare birth defect where a baby is born with a head and brain smaller than normal size. The health organizations are planning more studies to learn more about the risks of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
Health authorities including the WHO, PAHO, CDC and ECDC are warning pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas where there is a Zika virus outbreak. They also advise pregnant women who live in the areas where the outbreak is occurring to be extra careful to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The CDC is advising women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to consider postponing their travel and to talk to their doctors before traveling to Zika outbreak areas.
Facts and circumstances are constantly changing, so pregnant woman should consult the websites of the WHO, PAHO, CDC or ECDC for the most up-to-date information.