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What You Need to Know Now

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It has been a yr since scientists formally confirmed that Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that may also be unfold by way of unprotected intercourse, may cause critical delivery defects.

While scientists are nonetheless making an attempt to reply a number of questions on this unusual and troubling illness, they’ve discovered sufficient to know what precautions new and anticipating mother and father ought to take. 

Some of these precautions (like sporting an EPA-approved insect repellent and avoiding journey to Zika-affected areas) have been in place because the outbreak started. But others, corresponding to when and the way typically to get examined for Zika, have just lately advanced. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s suggestions for a way to shield your self from Zika in case you are pregnant or are considering of getting a child:

Know the Risks

An contaminated mom can cross the virus on to her creating fetus at any level throughout her being pregnant, however the danger of that fetus creating extreme start defects in consequence is biggest through the first trimester. 

An contaminated fetus has a few three to four % probability of creating microcephaly—a situation marked by a severely underdeveloped mind and an abnormally small head, and probably the most extreme Zika-related delivery defect reported to date. 

For different, much less extreme birth defects, together with listening to loss, imaginative and prescient hassle, and cognitive deficits, the numbers are fuzzier. In one current evaluation of Brazilian instances, 42 % of infants uncovered to the virus went on to develop these different issues. But in accordance to knowledge from the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, the charges right here have been a lot decrease. Just 5 % of infants born to moms with suspected Zika virus an infection developed start defects aside from microcephaly, and simply 10 % of infants born to women with confirmed infections did.   

Get Tested

Before you conceive: If there’s an opportunity you have been uncovered to Zika, ask your physician for a Zika antibody check before you become pregnant. Because the check can detect antibodies months after the an infection passes out of your system, it may be troublesome to inform whether or not a constructive check throughout being pregnant signifies a danger to your fetus. (The antibodies might linger after the an infection passes, however the virus might be handed to your fetus provided that it is in your system when you’re pregnant). 

During your being pregnant: If you’ve got traveled to (or stay in) a Zika-affected area, you need to be examined for Zika early in your being pregnant, then no less than as soon as each trimester. And when you bear amniocentesis, a check typically accomplished throughout being pregnant to examine for genetic and different health issues, ask your physician to check for Zika then, too.  

After your child is born: If you examined constructive for the virus throughout your being pregnant, or should you developed flulike signs after coming back from a Zika-affected area, your child ought to have a Zika check at delivery. The toddler also needs to have a head ultrasound or CT scan inside the first yr of life, and routine listening to, imaginative and prescient, and cognitive exams to examine for mind defects which may not be evident at delivery. The CDC lately reported that no less than one-third of docs and households skipped these exams. 

Protect Yourself and Your Baby

Before you conceive: If there’s an opportunity that you simply or your companion has been uncovered to Zika, it’s your decision to delay being pregnant for at the least six months. That’s how lengthy the virus can keep within the genital tract, and thus how lengthy it will possibly probably infect a creating fetus.  

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