By The Society For Women’s Health Research
Over the past few weeks, you’ve likely heard buzz about Zika – a virus spread in subtropical regions through mosquito bites that may be responsible for serious health effects in unborn babies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first evidence of human infection occurred in the 1950s, but new outbreaks were recorded in the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands beginning late 2015. The largest current outbreak is in Brazil and other parts of tropical South and Central America, where almost 1.5 million people are thought to be infected.
In adults and children, the illness is mild and usually lasts only a few days. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. However, in unborn babies the virus is thought to cause microcephaly – when a newborn baby’s head is much smaller than average, resulting in brain damage. Because of this, SWHR supports the CDC’s recommendations for pregnant women to postpone travel to areas with an ongoing Zika virus outbreak. Pregnant women (and women who are trying to become pregnant) who must travel should talk to their healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
For more information or for a Zika virus Q&A, visit the CDC’s website, and view their additional coverage here. Additional information from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine can be found here.
The Society for Women’s Health Research is committed to promoting maternal health for women and their babies. Learn more at www.swhr.org.
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The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR ®) is a national non-profit based in Washington D.C. that is widely recognized as the thought-leader in promoting research on biological differences in disease and is dedicated to transforming women’s health through science, advocacy, and education.