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Zika Virus Update From Dr. Silverberg

The Zika virus is still making headlines

Anyone who has watched television, read a newspaper, listened to the radio or surfed the web continues to be bombarded with concerns about the Zika virus. As an Austin fertility doctor, Kaylen Silverberg MD knows that the virus is very concerning for fertility patients.

The Zika virus can cause significant neurologic damage to babies born to women who have the virus during pregnancy. The most common abnormality in these babies is a condition called microcephaly. This is where the baby’s head and brain are much smaller than normal.

Information about transmission of the Zika virus

With the exception of at least one documented case of the Zika virus being sexually transmitted, all other cases in the United States have been caused by mosquito bites. The overwhelming majority of the mosquito bite cases, as of this time, have been traceable to people who traveled throughout South or Central America. The virus first originated in Brazil and it has now spread throughout most of South America, and to every country in Central America as well, including Mexico. It is also in the Caribbean.

As a result, we are strongly encouraging our patients who are pregnant or who are attempting pregnancy to avoid travel to these areas of the world, as well as any other areas identified as “hot spots” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you have traveled to these high-risk countries, or if you have been sexually intimate with a partner who has, please let your physician know immediately. Your Austin fertility doctor will evaluate your risk and advise you on the need for any further evaluation or treatment.

The symptoms of the Zika virus

The major symptoms of the Zika virus include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches

Interestingly, only one in five people who has the Zika virus demonstrate symptoms. In non-pregnant adults, the illness is very mild and the symptoms typically resolve within a couple of days.

At the moment, there is no vaccine to prevent or protect you against acquiring the Zika virus. The classic recommendations of bed rest, drinking fluids and acetaminophen are the best we have to offer for symptom relief.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine put out a statement on February 9, 2016 urging patients who are pregnant or who are considering pregnancy to “exercise caution.” Additional guidelines and steps you can take to prevent exposure to Zika have been put out by the CDC at  For further information, please contact your Austin fertility doctor.

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