The Zika virus is an insect-borne illness transmitted by mosquito. Two species of mosquito-spread it. These are the Aedes aegypti mostly found in the tropics and the Aedes albopictus mostly found in temperate regions. The Zika virus originated in Uganda in Africa then later circulated in Asia, across Pacific Ocean, Brazil, and South American countries.
What pregnant women need to know now is how the virus spread.
The Aedes mosquitoes carry the virus and spread it from one person to another through bites. The Zika virus is terrifying to pregnant women because there is a possibility of the Virus being transmitted to the fetus. Therefore, resulting in congenital disabilities in infants.
It spreads through sexual acts with an infected person. If your partner has traveled recently to the infested areas, see a doctor to administer a blood test to detect the virus.
It can spread through a blood transfusion from an infected person.
Symptoms of Zika Virus
The common ones include fever, red eyes, vomiting, joint pain, rash, and headache.
The Zika virus can be dangerous to pregnant women and their children. It is known to cause severe defects in babies. The most common are the microcephaly which is a neurological condition causing babies to be born with tiny heads and a small brain. The head circumference measures less than 31 to 32 centimeters.
It causes life-threatening developmental abnormalities and even death to infants. Zika can cause deafness and blindness at birth.
It also causes behavior difficulties during childhood. The brain is damaged and does not develop properly, and this can lead to mental retardation, seizures and growth delays. This virus is harmful during the first trimester and the third trimester it can cause sudden death of the fetus.
Another congenital disability caused by zika virus is called Guillan –Barre syndrome. It causes the body’s immune system to attack the nervous system.
Prevention and minimizing the likelihood of mosquito bites in pregnant women.
Avoid outdoor during peak mosquito hours that is early in the morning during sunrise and late in the evening during sunset.
Use the insect repellents by following and adhering to the product labels. The most effective mosquito repellent contain a product called DEET.
Drain stagnant waters in your compound to avoid mosquito breeding sites
Always use mosquito nets when sleeping or sleep in screened rooms
Avoid areas prone to zika infection.
Avoid sleeveless shirts and short pants. Wear fabric clothes treated with permethrin (an insect repellent applied to clothing).
Baby’s protection from Zuka Virus.
Cover the baby’s crib, stroller or carrier with a mosquito net to protect from the bites.
Dress baby in clothing covering both arms and leg
It is not safe to use insect repellent on children under two months old. To those who are older, it is advisable to apply the insect repellent first on your hands to the baby’s skin. Shun contact with their hands, eyes, mouth or open skin.
Treat clothing with permethrin.
Protective rules during the sexual act.
What pregnant women need to know now is that they should abstain from sex or use protection like condoms. Those trying to conceive should wait at least eight weeks if their partner did not show any zika symptom or six months if he showed zika symptom. If your partner has visited a high risk-infested area and has shown signs, you can carry out Zika test.
Diagnosis of Zika virus and treatment
This virus diagnosed through two types of tests. One tests for the presence of the virus in blood or urine in the first few weeks after exposure to the virus. The other test is called Zika IgM checks for the presence of anti -bodies to the virus which are produced when one is infected. In case the test is positive for zika virus, no further testing is recommended but if negative the serum can be sent for IgM antibody. This test is known as serological testing. Zika has no vaccine. However, the health care providers recommend treating the symptom with enough rest, a lot of fluids and medication such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
If Zika virus is positive in pregnant women, the baby should be checked for any infection through an amniocentesis. Also, ultrasounds can be used to check for any signs of microcephaly and close monitoring throughout the pregnancy period.
ConclusionPregnant women with zika should seek more frequent visits to the specialists and ultrasounds performed before to the unborn baby. According to research, no cases of children getting infected by the virus through nursing. Exclusive breastfeeding is encouraged even in areas where the virus is common.