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 has been demonstrated to cause significant neurologic damage to babies born to women who have been infected with the virus during pregnancy. The most common abnormality in these babies is a condition called microcephaly, where the baby’s head and brain are much smaller than normal.
With the exception of at least one documented case of the Zika virus being sexually transmitted, all other cases that have been reported 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 has also been noted 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 major symptoms of the Zika virus include:
Interestingly, only one in five people who are infected with 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 and the classic recommendations of bed rest, increased fluid consumption 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 https://www.cdc.gov/viajosinzika/index.html. For further information, please contact your Austin fertility doctor.