Zika virus, or ZV, which is spread to people through mosquito bites, has recently been spreading in South and Central America. Transmission of the virus has not occurred in the U.S., although there have been cases in returning travelers.
For most people, the symptoms of the illness are mild, including fever, rash and joint pains. However, research from the current ZV outbreak in Brazil suggests a possible association between ZV and pregnant women giving birth to children with birth defects known as fetal microcephaly.
To decrease this risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women:
- Consider postponing travel to ZV outbreak areas
- If traveling to affected countries, take steps to avoid mosquito bites, including using insect repellent (safe for pregnant women), bed nets, window screens, etc.