Pregnancy and Zika: warnings eased

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently eased its travel advisory for pregnant women as the threat of Zika diminishes. Previously, the advice was that women who were pregnant or might become pregnant should stay away from nearly 100 countries or regions. This is because infection with Zika virus can cause severe birth defects in inborn children. The updated advice states that women who are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant, and are about to travel to an area where there is current or past transmission – but no current outbreak – should talk to their healthcare providers about potential Zika risks before travelling.

Unfortunately, there is some confusion surrounding how women and their doctors can get the best information. Clinicians are reportedly fielding questions from confused women and couples but have no way of knowing for certain that there is not any circulating virus in areas at risk of Zika. Travellers can do their best to protect themselves by covering up and wearing insect repellent. For pregnant women, travel to areas with a current outbreak should be avoid, and as for travel to areas where there is transmission, 100-per-cent safety cannot be guaranteed. They can seek advice from their healthcare provider or avoid visiting these areas.