Zika virus warnings

Zika virus warnings

TULSA (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) -- Could a trip out of the country compromise the health of your baby? A young mom takes into consideration the pros and cons of traveling in the days of the Zika virus.

Like most young couples, Rhonda Spinks and her husband are thrilled to be expecting.

"This is our first baby and of course when it's your first you're extra cautious," she says.

Spinks was faced with a work trip to Puerto Rico and for her that was a tough choice. Although some say the Zika risks may not be as high as some perceive.

Larry Altshuler, MD, an internist at the Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma says, "I do think the Zika virus is overblown. It is much less and we don't know if it causes microcephaly, like they are saying."

Microcephaly, or small head syndrome, is exactly what expectant moms fear. But Spinks did her homework, too, about the media buzz.

"It talks about 4,000 cases when in actuality it's more like 400," Spinks says.

Researchers are still learning more about the ways people contract the virus.

Dr. Altshuler explains, "any type of transmission from body fluids; so kissing can do that; sex can do that; a blood transfusion can do that. But the vast majority is going to come from mosquito bite."

Dr. Altshuler says symptoms are not always obvious. Parents could have cold or flu symptoms and fever or rash. Still, he says it can't hurt to be cautious.

"Until the CDC and World Health Organization say 'okay this is what we found,' perhaps you should stay away," says Dr. Altshuler.

Fortunately for Spinks, organizers cancelled the conference, taking Zika off her list of mom-to-be worries.

Experts at Johns Hopkins suggest pregnant women use an insect repellent containing deet and picaridin, which are both safe to use during pregnancy.

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