HealthWatch: Zika Virus

Advice for women traveling to Zika infected areas

Green Bay (WFRV) Zika can cause serious birth defects in babies born to women who were infected with Zika during pregnancy. Currently there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

The Aedes species mosquito that transmits Zika virus can't survive in our harsh climate. 

In Healthwatch Chelly Boutott takes a look at what women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should do if they are planning a vacation to an area where the Zika carrying mosquito thrives.

Corissa and Paul Gehrke were married last August, "It was everything a girl can dream of," gushed Corissa Gehrke, Denmark.

Next up- a little brother or sister for 3-year-old Madeline, "Madeline is going to be 4 this October lets start working on that," said Corissa.

However, the couple booked their honeymoon to Mexico and Corissa was worried about the Zika virus, "How long would we have to wait if we did contract the virus going to Mexico? What if we were going to start trying sooner before we left?" worried Corissa.

So Corissa went to Dr. Stephen Sehring an obstetrician/gynecologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center for answers to her questions. 

"If they're pregnant there are specific areas they ought not travel.  And if they are considering pregnancy they should avoid pregnancy during that trip and for several months afterwards," said Stephen Sehring, MD, obstetrician/gynecologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center. 

Because an infected mother can pass Zika onto her unborn child which could cause birth defects, "Microcephaly where the brain doesn't grow properly it doesn't grow appropriately and we also see growth restrictions with babies they don't grow as they should during the pregnancy," explained Dr. Sehring.

If you are considering pregnancy in the six months following a vacation to a known Zika area Dr. Sehring advises couples  to follow the CDC's guidelines, "The most recent guidelines suggest that men should not father children for up to six months after they have been exposed to the virus and women should wait at least two months afterwards," explained Dr. Sehring.

Also take steps to make sure you aren't bitten by mosquitoes while on vacation, "Wear DEET containing repellent and to wear long sleeves and trousers," suggested Dr. Sehring.

Travelers should know the symptoms of Zika, "They have pretty non-specific flu like symptoms, they may have a rash," said Dr. Sehring.

Corissa did her research and took Dr. Sehring's advice like wearing long sleeves and "So we obviously wear the bug spray during the day," said Corissa.

They returned home without being infected, "I'm not concerned at all we didn't have any of the symptoms," said Corissa.

Now they are  planning their future, "Hopefully to have at least one more child," said Corissa.

For the most up-to-date information and recommendations on Zika go to the CDC's website here.

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com

 


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