Wellness and Healthy Living: BJC Medical Group


Published on Tuesday, August 09, 2016

New and Expectant Families Concerned about the Zika Virus

Dr. Gray-Swain of West End OB-GYN was featured on KSDK speaking on the ways families can protect themselves and if they should reroute any vacation they have planned

Article updated 9/14/2016

Dr. Rosanna Gray-Swain was featured on KSDK urging expectant families to check the CDC Zika map and not travel to any regions where the virus has been found. She emphasizes that men should also take precautions with travel plans, especially since those who contract the virus don’t always experience symptoms. Watch the whole piece here.

If you are pregnant, actively trying to conceive, planning on trying to get pregnant in the near future and are planning a trip to Miami the safest answer is yes, you should reroute your vacation plans.  If you are a man planning on fathering a pregnancy in the near future I would also caution you on travel to Miami at this time and recommend delaying conception following any such travel for two months.

Zika transmission from mosquito bites is thought to have been going on in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami since June 15.  There are 15 documented cases, and likely there will be more.

A few specific tips to help guide your upcoming travel plans:

Pregnant women should not travel to this area of known active Zika transmission in Wyndwood, Miami or anywhere else with active transmission. 

Although Zika has only detected in the Wyndwood area of Miami, it is likely to spread and avoiding the Miami region would be the safest choice.  The climate in southern Florida is such that the mosquitos carrying Zika may be able to survive into the winter, making even a winter get-a-way to these areas of questionable safety for pregnant patients and partners. 

Although Texas has yet to report active transmission of Zika, it is believed the climate there also may be conducive to Zika transmission. Patients should discuss any travel plans while pregnant or trying to conceive with their doctor at each visit. I encourage my patients to check here for up-to-date information about Zika before traveling to these warm southern areas at highest risk for Zika transmission.

For pregnant women who already live in the area where transmission has been confirmed or those who must travel there, I encourage them to adhere to mosquito bite prevention techniques, which include applying insect repellent and wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants.

For those couples who are trying to conceive and who travel to areas with Zika transmission should wait eight weeks before trying to get pregnant. Women who are known to have Zika need to wait eight weeks before trying to conceive. Also, men with known Zika infection should wait six months before trying to get a partner pregnant

For those couples who are pregnant, certain pregnant women should be tested for Zika infection based on their doctor’s recommendation following a detailed travel history. Male partners of pregnant women with exposure to areas of Zika infection should abstain or use condoms for the duration of pregnancy.

Puerto Rico and Miami are both hot-spots for vacations for many Americans, and unfortunately both pose the risk of Zika infection. Patients may be understandably frustrated with our restrictive recommendations regarding travel in pregnancy due to Zika. These restrictions may pose financial consequences, emotional let-down, time lost with family and evoke a sense of sacrifice for a pregnancy, or even a potential pregnancy. I encourage all patients, both those pregnant or considering pregnancy, to have frank discussions with their obstetrician about travel plans so they can work together to minimize any risk to babies and moms and also to maximize fun and travel before the introduction of a baby.

Rosanna Gray-Swain, MD, is a member of BJC Medical Group and a part of the West End OB-GYN practice. The practice is located at 1110 Highlands Plaza, Suite 280, St. Louis, MO and can be reached at 314-286-2620. Dr. Gray-Swain is accepting new patients, so BOOK today!
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Author: T. Soldner

Categories: Ask the OB-GYNs, Women's Health, News


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