While outbreaks of the mosquito-borne Zika virus are less prevalent in the news, Texas continues to update guidance on testing and monitoring pregnant women.
Zika Virus in Texas
The Zika virus is transmitted by the same type of mosquito that carries dengue fever. Those living in the southern-most areas of Texas are most at risk for contracting the Zika virus. In Texas, peak mosquito season spans August to December. As such, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has updated its guidance to OBGYNs for testing pregnant women.
Zika Virus Symptoms
Not every person will exhibit symptoms when infected with the Zika virus. It is believed that up to 20% of individuals with the Zika virus can be asymptomatic. Typically, symptoms are mild when they appear and can include fever, rash, pain in the muscles or joints, headache and eye redness. Most symptoms will disappear within a week. If you are pregnant and notice any of these symptoms, call our office to speak with your OBGYN.
Testing for Zika Virus in Pregnant Women
Pregnant women exhibiting symptoms of the Zika virus should notify their OBGYN and be tested as soon as possible, within the first 12 weeks. For symptomatic pregnant women, your OBGYN should administer an antibody, serum or urine test- as recommended by the Texas DSHS.
Women who are pregnant and reside in Cameron, Hidalgo, Kinney, Maverick, Starr, Val Verde, Webb, Willacy or Zapata county should be tested, even if you are not exhibiting symptoms. It is suggested your OBGYN test for the Zika virus three times during your pregnancy, with at least one test during the first and second trimesters.
Exposure to the Zika Virus
If you live in one of the high risk counties listed above or if you or your significant other has or is planning on traveling to an area impacted by the Zika virus, talk to your OBGYN. There is no vaccine or treatment, but prevention and monitoring is important.
Talk to Dr. Nathan T. Thomas about any concerns or questions regarding the Zika virus and your pregnancy.