• By Vivien Williams

Mayo Clinic Minute: What women need to know about Zika

July 12, 2017

Every summer, many people take time off to travel. Dr. Mary Jo Kasten, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist, says women of childbearing age need to know the risks associated with traveling to areas where there's a known Zika virus outbreak.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads. Read the script.

Women, listen up. Here is information you need to know about traveling to areas where the Zika virus is known to be present.

“The major problem with Zika is if you get Zika while you’re pregnant.”

Dr. Mary Jo Kasten explains that mosquitoes transmit the Zika virus.

“You might not get sick yourself, but there’s a very significant chance that your baby might be born with a small head or have other serious congenital problems.”

Dr. Kasten recommends women who are pregnant or who might get pregnant should avoid areas where there are Zika outbreaks. If you have to go to a Zika-endemic area, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says women should not get pregnant for eight weeks after their return.

“The other way Zika can be transmitted is through sex.”

The CDC also recommends that if a woman’s sex partner travels to an area where there are known cases of Zika, he should not have sex with her without a condom for six months after he returns.

Dr. Kasten says anyone traveling to a Zika-infected area should avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes.

If you have no choice but to travel to a Zika-endemic area, Dr. Kasten suggests you use take precautions that include using insect repellent that contains 30 to 35 percent deet, wearing light-colored clothing and wearing clothes that have been treated with an insecticide called permethrin.

 

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