Is the Zika virus still an issue and how does it affect fertility?
I get asked less often these days about the Zika virus so I thought I would look into it and see if its still an issue for those that are pregnant or TTC.
Zika is an infection caused by Zika virus and transmitted mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito. In 2015, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Asia have seen outbreaks of Zika virus infection. Although symptoms in affected patients are relatively mild such as fever, rash and joint pain, it can result in problems during pregnancy including miscarriage and birth defects.
The countries that are classified as high risk (last updated March 2018) are some African countries such as Angola; Guinea-Bissau; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cabo Verde; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Côte d’Ivoire; Gabon; Nigeria; Senegal; Uganda.
Asian countries such as Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Tonga; Bangladesh; India; Indonesia; Maldives; Myanmar; Thailand Cambodia; Fiji; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Vietnam.
Central America countries such as Bolivia; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico; Suriname; Venezuela.
So many are in South America such as Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; British Virgin Islands; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Grenada; Montserrat; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States Virgin Islands.
This is what the Australian Government Department of Health suggests:
Pre-travel advice for pregnant or ttc women
Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman may cause severe birth defects. Pregnant women should consider deferring travel to a Zika affected country. An individual risk assessment is advised for women considering travel to a country where there is the potential for Zika transmission. If the woman does decide to travel, discussion with a doctor about preventing Zika virus transmission from mosquitoes and sexual partners is advised.
Women planning a pregnancy or at risk of pregnancy should either consider deferring travel as described above, or avoid pregnancy during travel and for at least 8 weeks afterwards.
Post exposure advice for pregnant women
Protecting pregnant women or those planning pregnancy is a priority. Pregnant women should avoid unprotected sex with a male partner who has been to a Zika affected country for the duration of the pregnancy or for 6 months, whichever is longer. Pregnant women should avoid unprotected sex with a female partner who has been to a Zika affected country for 8 weeks.
In a nutshell it is still an issue in the above listed countries if you are TTC or pregnant. Plenty of other countries to travel to though 😎.
Safe travels and thanks for reading xxx