Zika virus prompts new travel warnings – THV11.com

5 months ago Comments Off on Zika virus prompts new travel warnings – THV11.com

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — According to the CDC, the number of pregnant women in the U.S. infected with the Zika virus has tripled. The increase is due to a change in how the government is counting cases.

There are now 157 pregnant women in the U.S. with Zika. The number is up from 48 last week.

With summer right around the corner, many experts are concerned that number could increase as people travel overseas.

There are four confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Arkansas; that’s according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Last month, the health department discouraged pregnant women from traveling to South and Central America and the Caribbean.

But now, with cruises, honeymoons and mission trips planned, experts are expanding their precautions when it comes to summer travel.

“Half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. So we need to make sure people who are capable of becoming pregnant take this in to account,” said Dr. Dirk Haselow, who added that new guidelines say all women in their child bearing years are discouraged from going to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

“If people have to travel and they have sexual partners, they are encouraged not to have sex for at least eight weeks.”

There are also guidelines for couples trying to get pregnant.

“The recommendations now are that they choose not to go, if they’re in that situation, but if they return, and neither of them had symptoms, they can resume trying to become pregnant in eight weeks.”

Men that show symptoms are encouraged not to have unprotected sex for six months and should not have unprotected sex with women who are pregnant.

In 1 percent of cases, pregnant women who contract the Zika virus in the first trimester have babies with microcephaly, a condition that causes the baby to have a small head.

Dr. Haselow says microcephaly is the most obvious sign a baby has contracted Zika, but may not be the only symptom associated with the virus. “It doesn’t mean the other 99 percent of children are normal. That may just be the tip of the iceberg of what happens to a child. Things like developmental delays, mental retardation, deafness and blindness may be identified later.”

With the school year wrapping up, many families are planning summer vacations and couples are planning honeymoons to those affected areas.

THV11 wanted to know if the threat of the Zika virus meant that Arkansans would be changing their travel plans.

“So far there’s not a whole lot of concern out there, and we are thankful for that,” said Little Rock Tours President, Cary Martin. So far, no one has backed out of the company’s Caribbean cruises due to the virus.

“Hopefully this is something that will pass; they’ll find a remedy, or a vaccine, or something that will make people feel comfortable and prevent the Zika virus.”

The symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

Dr. Haselow says if you show two or more symptoms, especially if you’ve traveled to Central or South America or the Caribbean, contact your doctor.


Related Links:

Obama calls for Zika funding as CDC ups estimate of pregnant women affected

Zika virus: Separating facts from fiction

City of Jacksonville takes aim at Zika

Four cases of Zika confirmed in Arkansas

ADH gives advice on how to fight Zika virus

Zika virus prompts new travel warnings – THV11.com

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