Why is the Zika virus so dangerous for pregnant women?

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend pregnant women not to travel to countries affected by Zika.

The Zika virus usually causes mild illness, but has been linked to a congenital defect grave in the babies of women who have been infected during pregnancy.

The alert level has risen to level 2 out of 3 in 14 countries and territories in Central, South America and the Caribbean where the Zika virus has spread. These countries are: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Martinique, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

What is the Zika virus, and how is it spread?

Zika is a tropical disease that is transmitted to people through mosquito bites, not from one person to another.

The mosquito that transmits Zika is of the species Aedes aegypti, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito.

What are the symptoms of Zika?

About 1 in 5 people who are infected with the Zika virus will develop symptoms.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever.
  • Rash or red spots on the skin.
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis or redness of the eyes.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Headache.

It is usually a mild illness that lasts for a few days to a week, and rarely requires hospitalization.

What is the risk of Zika infection in pregnant women?

There appears to be strong evidence that the Zika virus would cause the appearance of microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with undersized brains and skulls.

Felipe Dana / AP

He higher risk occurs during first trimester of pregnancy, which is when brain development occurs, although the risk continues into the second trimester as well.

It is believed that when pregnant women are infected, the virus passes through the placenta to fetus, damaging your brain development.

How to avoid Zika virus infection?

There is no vaccine to prevent infection, and no treatment to treat the disease.

So the most important thing is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

  • Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET or other ingredients that provide long-lasting protection.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing.

The Zika virus already affects 20 countries in Latin America and the WHO warns of its rapid expansion. Posted by PlayGround on Wednesday, January 20, 2020

Keep reading:

  • Insect bites in children
  • Can I use mosquito repellent if I am pregnant?

Video: Zika and Pregnancy


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