By Lena H. Sun and Brady Dennis
To Your Health
August 1 at 3:10 PM
For the first time, the Zika virus has prompted public health officials to warn pregnant women to avoid traveling to a part of the continental United States. The travel advisory comes in response to a growing outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in South Florida.
The state on Monday said there are 10 more people who have been infected with the Zika virus who likely contracted it from local mosquitoes, bringing the total number of such cases in the state to 14. All of the cases have surfaced in a densely populated community north of downtown Miami.
Because the virus can have devastating consequences for a fetus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged pregnant women to avoid traveling to the area, and for pregnant women who live and work there to make every effort to avoid mosquito bites and to get tested for possible exposure during each prenatal visit. It also advised women to use protection during sex, because the virus can be transmitted sexually.
Furthermore, the CDC is advising that all pregnant women should be asked about travel to Zika-infested areas during routine prenatal visits. Any pregnant women who have traveled to Zika areas -- including this area of Florida on or after June 15 -- are advised to talk with their healthcare providers and get tested for Zika.
[U.S. confirms Florida Zika cases are first local transmission in any state]
For couples trying to have a baby, women and men who traveled to this area should wait at least eight weeks before conceiving a pregnancy. Men with symptoms of Zika virus disease should wait at least six months after symptoms begin to attempt conception.
CDC Director Tom Frieden said the agency issued the travel warning because of the additional Zika infections that were identified in the last 48 hours, and because of new information that indicates mosquito control efforts are not working as well as officials would have liked.