The Zika virus is vastly making its way through the United States and now the government claims the Zika infection has been confirmed in nine pregnant women in the U.S., three of whom resides in Florida.
The Zika virus is mainly spread through mosquito bites and has created an epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus causes mild illness or no symptoms in most people.
All of these women obtain the virus overseas prior to or during their pregnancy. Out of all nine babies, three have been born with one having a brain defect.
According to The Center of Disease Control and Prevention, since August 257 women have been tested for the virus. Friday, the CDC began investigating 10 additional reports of pregnant travelers with the Zika virus.
The agency claims that all the woman tested for the virus had previously traveled to places with the Zika outbreak such as American Samoa, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Samoa.
These cases have prompted health officials to take cautionary steps to protect fetuses. Nurse Practitioner, Angela Jackson, with North Florida Women’s Care Obstetrics and Gynecology is aware of the virus and informs her patients to take precautions if they decide to travel.
“Many of the pregnant patients we have don’t really travel because of the baby. For the patients that do, I always inform them to watch their surroundings at all times and if they feel any unusual discomfort to notify the office immediately.” Jackson said.
Even though the CDC didn’t release the hometowns of the nine infected women, three cases do live in Florida where residents commonly travel being that they live right off the pacific.
Frequent traveler Jesse Gaines, who lives in Tallahassee and currently four months pregnant, is being very careful traveling outside the U.S. since the recent cases of the Zika virus.
“I travel a lot for my photography business and I thought about taking a break since the recent findings of the Zika virus in pregnant women. I still have a few countries I have to visit for my business but I plan to be very careful once I go.” Gaines said.
While many travelers are aware of the Zika virus, Jamie Cane from Jacksonville, is one of the few who’s not letting the virus stop her from filling up her passport.
“I travel mostly for pleasure since I retired and I understand that the virus is scary and spreading quickly but it doesn’t stop me from seeing the world,” Cane said. “I take the necessary steps to make sure I’m safe like getting all my vaccine shots and applying spray repellant frequently.
Those destinations are among the 30 places now on the CDC’s Zika travel alert. The health agency recommend pregnant women to postpone trips to those areas and all travelers to use insect repellent while in the Zika outbreak areas, and continue to use it for three weeks after travel in case they might be infected but not sick.